The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers had a long off-season to think about that 24-10 beat down. And as luck would have it, the schedule makers gave them a chance at a little revenge in the first game of the season. If the Super Bowl had been as entertaining as the game on Thursday, it would have been an all-time classic.
The Panthers looked like they were going to get a bit of revenge, taking a 17-7 halftime lead. Cam Newton and the Panthers offense converted on several third and long situations. At times, it looked like the Broncos had no answers for them.
But in the second half, it looked a lot like the Super Bowl did, with Newton getting hit hard and not hitting his receivers. The Broncos offense was better than expected with new quarterback Trevor Siemian, a guy who never thought he’d be drafted, as the starter. He made the plays the Broncos needed in the second half and they overcame some turnovers in Panthers territory early in the game.
In truth, the team that deserved to win the game, won the game. Yes, the Broncos were fortunate that Carolina kicker Graham Gano missed the game winning field goal from 40 yards, but that just meant that justice was served.
The NFL needs to revisit some of the penalties and how they are punished. The Panthers faced a fourth and 22 and were bailed out by a five yard hands to the face penalty. It’s five-yard penalty that carries with it an automatic first down. Why? Why should a team get an automatic first down for that? If it’s fourth and 22 and you get a five yard penalty, then it should be fourth and seventeen. No penalty should have an automatic first down unless a team is inside the ten yard line.
And while we are at it, why do penalties on both sides automatically offset? Newton was called for intentional grounding on a play where he was nearly decapitated. The result? Play over. What? Surely a personal foul on a quarterback is more egregious than him throwing the ball away. If you want to make it where the grounding penalty is enforced at the spot, then the personal foul is marched off from there and if it doesn’t give them enough yards for a first down, then it’s whatever down and however many yards to go from there. But to call it a no-play and give the teams a do-over is stupid. That makes no sense. If a defense jumps off-sides but then the offense commits pass interference, then the defense should get the difference in the two, not a do-over. If offensive pass interference is ten yards and offsides is five, then penalize the offense five yards.
For the refs to call that penalty on fourth and 22 took a lot of guts. If that was the NBA, there is no way they call it. The NBA will let a mugging go at the end of the game because they have a “let the players decide the game” attitude. That penalty was a huge bailout that should have cost Denver the game. But that’s not the fault of the refs. That’s the fault of the genius who decided that particular penalty should have an automatic first down attached to it. That’s stupid.
But, give Denver credit for saving a time out to ice Gano. They called a timeout just before the snap as Gano drilled it through the uprights. Then when they had ti do it again, he hooked it left. Many times that move backfires on coaches, but this time it worked. And the right team won.