Orange Crush Secures Peyton Place

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares SANTA CLARA, CA — The script didn’t go according to plan for Super Bowl 50, but is surely did for the career of one of football’s most heralded quarterbacks, Peyton Manning.The 39-year-old son of Archie and younger brother of Eli – whom he has eclipsed in virtually every NFL statistic except Super Bowl victories, one to Eli’s two – Manning won his first Super Bowl in nine years, capping an illustrious career and by all conventional wisdom now heading into retirement a winner as his Denver Broncos defeated the favored Carolina Panthers 24-10 to win America’s most-watched sporting event.Manning actually had little to do with the win, at least on paper: 13 -for-23 with a mere 141 yards passing, one interception, and no touchdowns. Were it not for a late two-point conversion, Manning would have put up no points on the scoreboard. But his presence loomed larger than anyone’s and his fast start helped the Broncos jump to an early 3-0 lead, snapping the Panthers’ perfect postseason streak of leading in every minute of every game.The 15-1 Panthers earned a Super Bowl berth on the strength of their quarterback, Cam Newton, who picked apart defenses all year with his rifle arm and turbo legs. If he’s not drilling passes downfield at blinding speed, he’s eluding defenders with the deftness of a running back.But Newton more than met his match against the vaunted Broncos “Orange Crush” defense, led by Von Miller, who was voted the game’s MVP. The Broncos linebacker was selected second overall in the 2011 NFL draft – with Newton picked as number one that year.The Broncos jumped to a 10-0 lead on a defensive touchdown generated by Miller’s stellar play, and never looked back. They led 13-7 at halftime, with the Panthers coming back with a one-yard plunge by running back Jonathan Stewart, who leaped over a sea of Bronco defenders into the end zone, reminiscent of the great Marcus Allen.After Denver added another field goal in the third, Carolina closed the gap with a field goal of their own, making it a one-score game at 16-10. But Denver sealed the game by forcing a Carolina turnover late in the fourth quarter and scored on a rushing TD of their own by their starting running back C.J. Anderson. Manning then found wide receiver Bernie Fowler in the endzone for the two-point conversion, putting the game out of reach, 24-10 with just over three minutes left.Peyton Manning won in his first Super Bowl appearance, nine years ago in Super Bowl 41, when his Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17, in which he was named MVP.Manning then lost three years later in Super Bowl 44 to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who came from behind to beat the Colts 31-17.Perhaps Manning’s most disappointing loss was two years ago, in Super Bowl 48, after returning from a career-threatening neck injury and signing with the Broncos, an incredible comeback season in which he broke the NFL record by throwing for an amazing 55 touchdowns during the regular season and winning his fifth league MVP award, his Broncos were embarrassed by the Seattle Seahawks 43-8.That’s when Broncos Executive VP John Elway, a two-time Super Bowl winning Bronco quarterback himself, proceeded to sign some more talent to bolster the defensive ranks. It worked. The Orange Crush held the Panthers’ juggernaut offense at bay all game long.Peyton Manning will undoubtedly go down as one of the game’s greatest players, having amassed a seemingly endless array of records during his 18-year career, perhaps the most notable of all his 539 career regular season touchdown passes.last_img

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