It’s not Peyton Manning vs. Cam Newton. It’s not quarterback vs. quarterback, age vs. youth or one last gasp vs. the beginning of something big. As much fun as all that is and as obvious as the storyline might be, it’s not what will define Super Bowl 50.
It’s Denver’s ferocious defense, which dines on quarterbacks, vs. an athlete the likes of whom the NFL has never seen before.
No one has figured out how to stop Newton, and there’s no reason to believe it’s going to happen now.
The Broncos came at Tom Brady like wrecking balls Sunday in the AFC Championship Game and what was left afterward was unrecognizable. They are so fast on the corners and Brady is so limited in his ability to run the ball that when they pressured him, he was doomed. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware? Crazy fast. It’s why the Broncos walked away with a 20-18 victory Sunday and a trip to the Super Bowl.
And now they get the pleasure of trying to figure out what to do about Newton, who is big and tall and strong and fast and tell me if I’m forgetting something. When the opposing quarterback is as large and as swift as your linebackers, you have some issues.
New England had no running game Sunday, as in zero, which made it very easy for the Broncos to focus on rushing the passer. They’ll have no such luxury against Newton, who averaged 4.8 yards a rush and ran for 10 touchdowns in the regular season.
This isn’t going to end well for the Broncos, no matter how well they’re playing. Newton has a gun for an arm, throws accurately off the run and drives defenses crazy when he takes off with the ball.
The only thing that has gotten in Carolina’s way in the postseason is Carolina. The Panthers have allowed big first-half leads to become skinny second-half leads. They’ve looked bored at times, like schoolchildren looking out the window during class. Hard to see that happening in the Super Bowl.
Denver has loads of talent on defense, and coordinator Wade Phillips will come up with a good plan. But talent and plans look good right up until Cam Newton walks onto the field.