As the curtain comes down on the 2015 NFL season with Super Bowl 50 over and done with, it’s an opportunity to look at some of the numbers that made the Denver Broncos win over the Carolina Panthers, especially when it comes to MVP Von Miller, Cam Newton and Peyton Manning.
Von Miller deserves a few mentions besides his Super Bowl MVP. With this postseason in the bag, he now has 6.5 career sacks in playoff games, the most by a Broncos player, not to mention being the first Broncos player to record multiple sacks in the Super Bowl. He has five sacks in this postseason with an interception, the first time that’s happened since sacks were officially tracked in 1982.
The Panthers finished the regular season at 15-1. Since the 1990 season, when the current playoff format began, none of the teams winning 15 games or more (Patriots in 2007) have ever won the Super Bowl.
It was a rough game for Cam Newton. Not just the overall numbers of 18-for-41, one interception, sacked six times and twice fumbled the ball to a turnover. He was especially troubled when Miller and DeMarcus Ware were rushing him at the same time, getting 1-for-12 out of him, sacked four times and twice fumbled the ball. He overthrew 10 passes, tied for the most in Super Bowl history. Being blitzed 25 times, the second most in Super Bowl history, had something to do with it. He couldn’t get it done long or on the intermediate routes that usually help break the blitzes, completing just 3-of-18 on throws between 11 and 20 yards downfield the worst on such throws in Super Bowl history.
Not that Peyton Manning was great. He turned the ball over twice and completed just 13-of-24 passes. He couldn’t get anything going on third down, completing just 3-of-8 passes for 23 yards and an interception, sacked twice, and his 0.5 yards per dropback on third down is the lowest average for a Super Bowl-winning quarterback in the last 10 seasons. His 2.9 yards per pass attempt average on third down is the lowest by a Super Bowl winning QB since Tom Brady in Super Bowl XXXVI (1.6). When Manning did make something happen, it was usually when he was avoiding Josh Norman. He completed just 1-of-5 throws to receivers lining up against Norman, who almost intercepted two of those passes. Manning finished the game with a 9.9 QBR, which led to a 3-25 record for teams during this season when their QBs had a QBR of 10.0 or less.
While the Panthers lost the game, their defense was excellent, sacking Peyton Manning five times, interceptions him once and forcing a fumble out of him. Kony Ealy stood out as the first player in Super Bowl history with three sacks and an interception. No one has ever had two sacks and an interception.