I set up three computer simulated games of Madden yesterday before Super Bowl 50, trying to get a feel for how the real game would go.
In the first game the Panthers got on a roll early, with Cam Newton running in the first score from 14 yards out, and the Carolina team shutting out the Broncos 14-0. Manning threw three picks in that one.
The second game featured a defensive battle that was 3-0 Broncos at the half, but Cam Newton came on and tossed two touchdowns in the second half, leading his team to a 21-3 win. That was two games, and no touchdowns from the Broncos. It looked really bad for my prediction of a Denver win.
But then came Game 3. Once again the Denver defense brought the house on Newton, but this time it broke through. He took some abuse, the turnovers came, and the Broncos lit up the scoreboard, going for 24 while the Panthers ended up with 16 on a late touchdown run by Jonathan Stewart. I stopped after that one just like God stopped after creating the world. It was good.
Then the Broncos came out and did almost the same thing in the actual Super Bowl. They harassed Cam Newton all day, treating that offensive line of the Panthers like rag dolls in the process. I had said earlier in the week that Von Miller would be the MVP of this game, and everyone rolled their eyes at me. They said, “Defensive players hardly ever win MVP.” I said, “I know, but this defense is special. Von Miller is special.” Hindsight is 20/20 folks, but I had the foresight, and when he stripped Newton, leading to a touchdown early, I knew it would be one of those kinds of games.
It was a special season for that Denver defense, astounding considering that they were on the flip side of this same coin just two Super Bowls ago, with a dynamic offense that sputtered against a dynamic defense. They turned the tables, though, in a spectacular regular season, and in a postseason for the ages, holding three of the top four offenses in the league to 16, 18, and 10 points respectively. How’s that for perspective? Not many offensive touchdowns? No problem. The defense has a nose for the end zone. Running game stifled? It’s all good. The defense can run.
The Super Bowl was close throughout, but it wasn’t close, not with the way the Broncos defense played. When Newton hit Ginn for a 45-yard gain I turned to my wife and said, “It won’t matter. They’ll just adjust.” And adjust they did, not surrendering any points on that drive that had looked so promising with the big pass. Another pass of 42 yards later also did nothing to stymie a defense that knew they weren’t going to lose this one.
By holding the number one offense in the league to 10 points they made a statement. By taking home the big trophy in the league’s 50th iteration of a championship game they served notice.
Defense still wins championships. Congratulations Broncos defense on a well-deserved celebration. Keep those selfies coming.