Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer, said leading up to Super Bowl 50 that his team was there because of its defense.
There was absolutely no doubt about that after watching Wade Phillips' crew Sunday night.
The Broncos' pass rush was absolutely ferocious, led by game MVP Von Miller. His forced fumble against Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was recovered by Broncos safety T.J. Ward, giving Denver possession deep in Carolina territory.
A 2-yard touchdown run by C.J. Anderson sealed the win for Denver, but it was clearly a night for those who still believe "defense wins championships" to knowingly smile.
Ealy, again: Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy registered his second turnover of the game when he stripped Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to give Carolina life early in the quarter. Ealy recovered at the 50-yard line and the Panthers got a field goal on the ensuing drive to cut their deficit to 16-10.
Key statistic: The Broncos failed to convert 12 straight third downs – a Super Bowl record. That streak did not end until a defensive holding penalty against Panthers cornerback Josh Norman was called on a third-and-goal play. Norman got tangled with intended receiver Demaryius Thomas, and the flag set up Anderson's touchdown run.