Nightmare Ending to a Dreamlike Season

Super Bowl 50 was rough.  Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.  It was just damn awful. Penalties, turnovers, poor special teams play, lost challenges, dropped passes, a missed field-goal, lackluster effort, and an offensive line that was outclassed, made for a long night for Panthers fans and a longer night for Panthers players.

Carolina's defense did come to play, allowing only one offensive touchdown and 250 yards of total offense. Kony Ealy had 3 sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.  Norman and the secondary held strong, leaving Emmanuel Sanders the leaving receiver with 6 catches for 86 yards. The Panthers even held the Broncos to 90 yards on the ground and only one 3rd down conversion all game, but it wasn't enough. 

This impressive defensive performance, however, was overshadowed by a more dominant performance by the Denver Broncos defense.  Denver's defensive line mauled the Panthers, sacking Newton 7 times and pressuring him on what had to be every play.  The Panthers never looked composed. Philly Brown was the leading offensive weapon, and he even had to leave the game early concussed. 

This was simply a meltdown. It was as if the 2013 Panthers just smacked the 2015 Panthers right in their mouth. I'm sad right now. I know it's not surprising given that debacle tonight, but I think what I'm still most upset by is Cam not falling on that fumble. He fell down plenty fine when CJ Anderson powered in for a touchdown to seal the game. Not falling on that football, while being so despondent when hope seemed fully lost, undermined the strengths behind Newton's development as a player this year.   We get was a rough night, but that was out of character. Out of character for Newton. Out of character for this coaching staff, and out of character for this Panthers team. What felt most out of character, however, was that it didn't feel like Carolina could get back in this game when they had plenty of opportunity to.

By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn