Denver Broncos, the reigning Super Bowl champions, began their title defense with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of February’s NFL championship game.
The Broncos needed to go on a 14-3 fourth quarter run to tilt the momentum in their favor after the Panthers dominated the first half with a 17-7 lead. |Final Box Score|
With four seconds remaining, Panthers placekicker Graham Gano, who made a 36-yard field goal earlier in the fourth quarter, had the opportunity to give his team the victory.
However, Gano couldn’t complete a 50-yard field goal as time ran out, as the Broncos won the Super Bowl 50 rematch.
Cam Newton, the reigning NFL MVP, was once again pressurized by Denver’s elite defense, as he was sacked three times and clobbered for most of the night.
Despite Gano’s final play, it’s fair to say that Newton did everything within his grasp to try and lead the Panthers to victory.
In the closing seconds, his 21-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Broncos’ 32 followed by another pass to Ted Ginn Jr. should have been completed by Gano.
Unfortunately for Panthers fans, Newton and his teammates couldn’t seal the deal.
Denver Broncos find star in Trevor Siemian?
For the Broncos, the most positive story of the night was the performance of Trevor Siemian, the quarterback successor of Peyton Manning.
Siemian, in his first-ever NFL start, finished with one touchdown, two interceptions, 18 of 26 for 178 yards. A solid debut, indeed.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Broncos trailed 17-7 before Siemian hit RB C.J. Anderson for a 25-yard touchdown to begin the fightback.
After Gano converted a 36-yard FG, Panthers forced a three-and-out as Carolina got the ball back with 3:06 left in the game. But in the end, Denver’s defense proved too strong.
Here is the complete scoring summary:
|Panthers||1st Qtr||7:13||Kelvin Benjamin 14 yard pass from Cam Newton (Graham Gano kick)|
|Broncos||2nd Qtr||12:16||Andy Janovich 28 yard run (Brandon McManus kick)|
|Panthers||2nd Qtr||3:01||Cam Newton 2 yard run (Graham Gano kick)|
|Panthers||2nd Qtr||0:03||Graham Gano 44 yard Field Goal|
|Broncos||4th Qtr||14:50||C.J. Anderson 25 yard pass from Trevor Siemian (Brandon McManus kick)|
|Broncos||4th Qtr||9:26||C.J. Anderson 1 yard run (Brandon McManus kick)|
|Panthers||4th Qtr||4:21||Graham Gano 36 yard Field Goal|