SANTA CLARA, Calif. — If it was the final game of his magnificent career, what a super way for Peyton Manning to go out.
He can thank Von Miller and the Denver Broncos’ swarming, big-play defense for his second NFL championship.
Adding that ring to his five MVP awards, Manning certainly can be satisfied and comfortable in retirement should a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday be his finale. He wasn’t the star — Miller, the game’s MVP, seemingly was everywhere on every Carolina play — but Manning really hasn’t been the headliner in an injury-shortened season.
Emulating his Broncos boss, John Elway, the 39-year-old Manning can ride off with the Lombardi Trophy after leading Denver to its third NFL title and its first since 1999, when Elway was its quarterback.
Denver’s suffocating defense kept Cam Newton jittery all day. Despite wearing gold shoes in the golden Super Bowl, Newton couldn’t finish off a dynamic season in which he was the league’s MVP. Miller stripped him twice, once for a touchdown and the second time setting up a clinching touchdown.
Denver’s top-ranked defense, the one that ran roughshod over New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the NFC championship, simply wouldn’t let Newton get comfortable.
Newton was sacked six times — wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. went down once on an aborted trick play — and if Miller wasn’t torturing him, fellow outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware was. Ware had two of the seven sacks, the most ever by one team in the Super Bowl.
Carolina’s potent offense, one that led the league with 500 points, was held to its fewest points of the year, and Denver set an ignominious mark with 194 total yards, the fewest for a Super Bowl winner.
Manning is the first quarterback to win Super Bowls with two franchises, having also won with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.
He finished 13-for-23 for 141 yards against a strong Carolina defense that just couldn’t match Miller and company.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.