Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers Set to Face Off
The game will air live on CBS on Feb. 7.
No, you're not seeing things.
That really was Peyton Manning lumbering his way down the field for a 12-yard gain and a first down Sunday. And thanks to his defense, that will be Manning — the 39-year-old quarterback who was supposed to be on his way to a retirement party — and the Denver Broncos, not Tom Brady and the champion New England Patriots, playing in the Super Bowl two weeks from now.
Ol' No. 18 engineered Denver's 20-18 victory — not settled until Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby picked off Brady's pass on a 2-point attempt that would have tied it with 12 seconds left.
Brady hit a double-covered Rob Gronkowski in the back of the end zone on fourth down to set up the potential tie. The Patriots had to go for 2 because Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point in the first quarter, his first miss in 524 tries.
Aqib Talib stepped in front of Brady's pass and deflected it skyward.
Roby, who forced the game-changing fumble in last week's victory over Pittsburgh, made the pick. The Broncos recovered the onside kick and the celebration began. Manning is now 6-11 in his vaunted series against Brady, but 3-1 with the AFC title on the line.
Manning surpassed his boss, John Elway, as the oldest quarterback to take his team to the Super Bowl. The Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers, who defeated the Arizona Cardinals later Sunday in the NFC title game by a score of 49-15.
Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others, and Carolina's big-play defense stifled Arizona's top-ranked offense. The NFL's new top man at quarterback — Newton is an All-Pro this season — will lead the Panthers against five-time MVP Manning in Super Bowl 50, which will be played Feb. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif., and air live on CBS.
It will be the first Super Bowl for Newton and the second trip to the big game for the Panthers (17-1), who lost to New England 12 years ago. Denver, of course, has made a habit of going to Super Bowls, reaching it for a record-tying eighth time.
Carolina's D was destructive. It forced six turnovers by Carson Palmer — special teams got one — as the Cardinals (13-4) allowed their most points this season.