SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The Denver Broncos authored one of the greatest defensive performances in Super Bowl 50, helping Peyton Manning write one of the game's most improbable stories in the process.
The Broncos are Super Bowl champions for a third time after dismantling the Panthers 24-10 inside a raucous Levi's Stadium. It was only fitting that the game's decisive moment was made by Broncos linebacker Von Miller. Miller was named Super Bowl 50 MVP.
Late in the fourth quarter in a one score game, Miller fought off Panthers tackle Mike Remmer's initial block, dipped his shoulder, kept his balance and reach his long left arm at Cam Newton. The ensuing fumble was Carolina's fourth of the day and fourth turnover overall. Like the high-powered Steelers and Patriots offenses before them, the Panthers' offense had no answers for this incredible Broncos group.
Peyton Manning said after the game that he will "take time to reflect" before announcing any potential retirement, but every sign points to this being Manning's final game. After coming up short so often in the playoffs with high-powered offenses, it will be hard for Manning to resist riding off into the sunset on the back of this Broncos defense.
"I'll take some time to reflect. I got a couple priorities first" Manning told CBS' Tracy Wolfson after the game. "I'm going to go kiss my wife and kids. I want hug my family. I'm going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight, Tracy, I promise you that. I'm going to take care of those things first. Definitely got to say a little prayer to thank the man upstairs for this great opportunity. I'm just very grateful."
Manning knows that defenses like this don't come around often. They hit Cam Newton 13 times and sacked him seven more. The Panthers' high-powered offense kept getting chances in the second half, but Denver's defense kept stuffing them. Denver's special teams and defense essentially out-scored the Panthers on their own, setting the Broncos up for 17 points.