Three reasons why the Broncos won Super Bowl 50


The Denver Broncos rode their defense and special teams to a 24-10 victory in Super Bowl 50, but it was the turnover differential that ultimately plagued the Carolina Panthers and decided the game.

Denver capitalised on Carolina's disastrous turnovers and ugly penalties to claim their third Lombardi Trophy in franchise history as the most potent offense in the league crumbled against the league's top defense.

Here are three reasons why the Broncos won Super Bowl 50:

1. Broncos set tone with strip-sack score off Cam Newton

The newly crowned NFL MVP's first encounter with the Broncos' dominating defense was not a successful one.

Newton was drilled by linebacker Von Miller on a blind-side sack halfway through the first quarter, allowing defensive end Malik Jackson to scoop the fumble for a touchdown to give Denver an early 10-0 lead. It was the first fumble recovery for a touchdown in the Super Bowl since James Washington's for the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994.

But the strip-sack was just the beginning for Newton and the Panthers.

In total, Newton was sacked six times, with Miller registering a team-high 2.5 sacks, as he threw an interception and fumbled twice. Denver's suffocating defense added a seventh sack on wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who went down on an aborted trick play. The Broncos pounced on the Panthers' devastating turnovers and costly penalties to hold the league's highest-scoring team to their lowest-scoring output since a 28-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints on October 30, 2014.

2. Jordan Norwood breaks punt return record

The Broncos return man barely missed being the first player to return a punt for a touchdown in Super Bowl history. 

Norwood set a Super Bowl record with a 61-yard punt return during the first half. The return came halfway through the second quarter when Norwood fielded the kick at the Broncos' 25-yard line and sprinted down the sideline before eventually being chased down by Mario Addison, who tripped him up at the Panthers' 14-yard line.

The glory of the longest punt return in Super Bowl history previously belonged to San Francisco 49ers wide receiver John Taylor, who returned a Bengals punt 45 yards in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989.

3. Controlling the game pace

The Broncos entered Super Bowl 50 with the intention of controlling the game from the ground in order to take the pressure off veteran quarterback Peyton Manning, and they successfully accomplished their goal.

C.J. Anderson was the Broncos' workhorse in the backfield, as the running back led the team with 90 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Denver's offense averaged just 3.5 yards per play, but kept a consistent cadence that, alongside a dominant defense, never allowed Carolina to establish a rhythm.