Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl 50 aftermath


Well then.

I'm not complaining.

The 2015-16 NFL season has come to an end with Super Bowl 50. I would say the result was astonishing, but that's not truthful. In retrospect, it should have been obvious from the moment the Broncos defeated the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Let's reflect on Part 4 of my NFL predictions series. First, how I said the Broncos could win:
"The Broncos can win if they can maintain their defense against a deadly Carolina offense that overwhelmed the Seahawks and the Cardinals. The Broncos proved they can hold off the Patriots, but the Panthers look to be a daunting threat given the thrashing of the Cardinals. Manning has struggled with interceptions, but he has not thrown a turnover in the playoffs so far."
Indeed, the defense showed up strong in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers, having posted a combined eighty points against the Seahawks and the Cardinals, could only muster up ten against a Broncos team that refused to budge. The Broncos sacked Cam Newton seven times and forced three turnovers: a catastrophic fumble-recovery that led to a defensive touchdown, a rushing fumble, and an interception. Manning did not have a stellar game, but the defense held the line just enough to allow the Broncos to post twenty-four points.

Speaking of the Panthers...
"The Panthers must keep doing what they're doing. The offensive line must protect Newton at all costs, knowing how dangerous the Broncos defense was against the Patriots. The defense must relentlessly attack Manning at every opportunity in order to stifle the Broncos offense. The Broncos haven't produced many points in the playoffs (23 against the Steelers, 20 against the Patriots); the Panthers ruthless offense may trigger for the Broncos haunting memories of Super Bowl 48 against the Seahawks.

Indeed, it might just be a rerun of Super Bowl 48, albeit with the Carolina Panthers instead."
Except the opposite happened.

The Panthers, who finished 15-1 on the season, never showed up to play. The feared Panthers offense, which only two weeks ago slaughtered the Cardinals, posted a rushing touchdown and a field goal, all for ten points. The Panthers defense sacked Peyton Manning five times, but what good does that make when the offense barely showed up? The Panthers offensive line buckled and capitulated at critical moments, allowing Von Miller and the rest of the Broncos o-line to deny Cam Newton his first Super Bowl championship. The Panthers leave Santa Clara empty-handed, just as they left Houston empty-handed twelve years ago.

Thanks for reading, and here's hoping the Seahawks return to the Super Bowl in 2017!

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