Player of the Game: MVP Von Miller (five tackles, one assist, 2.5 sacks).
Behind the scenes, the worst kept secret the days leading up the 2011 NFL draft was that Miller would go No. 2 overall to the Denver Broncos. Carolina knew it, Buffalo knew it. Denver wanted this pass rusher out of Texas A&M.
On Sunday, we found out why: The outside linebacker wrecked plays all night.
His sack/fumble led to a Malik Jackson touchdown in the first quarter. He used a spin move to beat tackle Mike Remmers for another sack in the second half. And with 4 minutes left, Miller did it again with a clinching forced fumble.
It was one thing to harass a stationary Tom Brady. It was quite another to take down the mobile, 250-pound Cam Newton. He’s set to become a very, very rich man this offseason.
Play of the Game: On third and 9, Miller beat his man again to get a hand on Newton’s pass and force a fumble. Denver took over deep in Carolina territory and iced a Super Bowl title with a C.J. Anderson touchdown. It was all about the defense in this one. Miller and DeMarcus Ware wreaked havoc and shut down the league’s MVP.
Stat of the Game: 61-yard punt return by Jordan Norwood in the first half, led to a Denver field goal. It’s the longest punt return in NFL history. Still, give end Mario Addison credit. He chased down Norwood to save a touchdown.
Peyton's stats: Manning completed 13 of 23 passes for 141 yards and an interception. After the game he said he would take some time before deciding if he will retire. It is his second Super Bowl victory. He had lost two of his previous three Super Bowls, including a lopsided defeat to Seattle two years ago.
Newton's stats: The league's MVP completed only 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards and had one interception. He had 45 rushing yards on six carries.
Bold move: If we only knew what Darian Stewart was thinking when he saw big ‘ol Mike Tolbert barreling his way in the first half. Stewart stuck his tackle low, got his helmet on the ball and forced a fumble that was recovered by Danny Trevathan. The Panthers list Tolbert at 250 pounds which cannot be true.
Up top: Philly Brown hauled in an acrobatic 42-yarder in double-coverage in the second half that’ll be replayed on the Super Bowl’s greatest catches. Newton gave him a shot deep middle and the diminutive 5-foot-10, 180-pound Brown timed his jump perfectly.
Where’s Olsen? Newton’s No. 1 target, one who hauled in 77 catches for 1,104 yards with seven touchdowns this season was mostly a non-factor on Sunday. The Broncos located tight end Greg Olsen all night long and tried to make other receivers beat them.
C.J. Strength: Running back C.J. Anderson is only 5 foot 8. But he threw all of his 224 pounds into Thomas Davis in the hole to run the Panthers linebacker over for one first down. He also rumbled ahead for a 34-yarder. Denver’s offense isn’t visually pleasing but Anderson's toughness vs. Davis, and then at the goal line was the difference.
Cotchery, not Catchery: A diehard Bills fan as a kid, Jerricho Cotchery said he cried when Scott Norwood’s kick sailed wide right against the New York Giants. Playing in the big game himself, he had a rough night. Cotchery dropped three passes by the first drive of the third quarter. Carolina’s lack of star power at receiver hurt this night.
Franchise stats: It was the third Super Bowl victory for the Broncos, and its first since 1999.