The remake was complete.
Following the Broncos devastating loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Super Bowl XLVII, John Elway endeavored to remake the Denver team with a defensive focus. He signed free agents TJ Ward, Aqib Talib and Darian Stewart. He pried DeMarcus Ware from the Cowboys. Wade Phillips was given a full toolbox to work with and he did not disappoint.
Denver Broncos Raised Wordmark Slide - M
The crown jewel in the remake was Von Miller. The second pick in the 2011 draft, the Texas phenom was fully into his prime and past suspension and injury issues that hampered his early years. Miller, the explosive edge rusher had a knack for disrupting games, a torn ACL kept him from the game against the Seahawks but he was ready-to-go for SB50.
The game was a tall order, the opponent was the Carolina Panthers and coming into the game they were 17-1. Cam Newton and Greg Olsen were unstoppable. Newton was league MVP, dropping dabs all over the NFL landscape. The Ron Rivera-led Panthers were a juggernaut and a spectacle.
Quite the opposite was true of Denver. Riding the NFL’s top defense, they smothered opponents en-route to a 12-4 record. The season saw the Denver offense as low as it had been in memory. Even Peyton Manning looked human, even frail at times before missing five games with a Lisfranc injury to his foot. Replacement Brock Osweiler kept the Broncos in contention but was replaced in the final regular-season game by a healthy Manning. The rift caused by that decision led Osweilier to Houston the following season.
The game set up as unstoppable object versus immovable force but that was quickly dispelled by the outstanding play of Miller who had two strips of Newton in the game.
It was the second one that was significant as Miller burst around the Panthers right tackle and popped the ball out of Newton’s hand from behind. There was a brief moment when Newton may have had a chance to fall on the ball and maintain possession but he froze allowing TJ Ward to eventually fall on the loose ball. It wasn’t so much that the play was better than previous defensive efforts by Denver it’s that the play seemed to signal a surrender from Newton and the Panthers.
Cam was visibly shaken at the post-game press conference and that can be directly attributed to Von’s relentless presence in the game.
That leaves just one and there really can be only one……..