The Denver Broncos won against the Carolina Panthers by just one point in the season opener.
On Tuesday night Carolina had a chance to win, but the kicker Graham Gano missed a field goal from 50 yards, allowing Broncos to win it 21-20 in front of their home, victory-hungry crowd, at Sports Authority Field.
The scene, which happened seven months ago, repeated and Denver’s aggressive defense managed to lock down last season MPV, Carolina’s quarterback Cam Newton. He was successful in the first half, scoring two touchdowns but after that, he was sacked three times and hit repeatedly.
For Denver, their second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian was out in front. The curious thing about him is that he had never taken a snap during the regular season. He completed 18 out of 26 passes for 178 yards, and one touchdown for the running back C.J Anderson in the last quarter of the game.
The Broncos managed to come alive after they trailed at the halftime 17-7.
Denver decided that, after Peyton Manning retired and their back-up, up-and-coming quarterback Brock Osweiler went to Huston, the best move would be to sign Siemian. He got the job over first-round pick Paxton Lynch and veteran Mark Sanchez.
Although Siemian always looks calm, he stated:” There’s butterflies every time you play. Something’s wrong with you if you don’t [get them]. But I’m just super confident in the guys we have offensively, lot of vets, lot of great leadership I can lean on.”
The key player for Denver was Anderson because he scored both touchdowns for the team in the fourth quarter and the second one gave them a four-point lead.
Gano scored a field goal to reduce the lead to just one and with a great defense Carolina forced three-and-out which gave them a chance to win.
However, the popular Super Cam was sacked twice in three plays which really reduced Carolina’s chances to win. Newton tried to throw a desperation pass, but it was incomplete.
Be that as it may, that wasn’t the end. Chris Harris Jr. was flagged for illegal hands to the face and because of that mistake, Panthers got an automatic first down and another chance to win against their bitter rival.
The surprise for Denver came from their rookie fullback Andy Janovich as he scored a 28-yard touchdown. The astonishing fact is that nobody owns him in fantasy leagues, although many people know that he is on the roster.
Carolina’s tight end Greg Olsen and receiver Kelvin Benjamin caught great passes from Newton, who had a tough game. Anyway, they managed to move into the field-goal range with nine seconds before the final whistle. Gano had the chance to win it for the Panthers, but he was unsuccessful.
The Broncos continue to win by a touchdown, or less and Anderson had something to say about it. He told the press:”That was our whole model last season, winning close games. It’s not like we haven’t been in a dogfight before. We’ve got to bring along our rookies. `You’re not going to win 45-0 like in college. That’s not going to happen anymore.”
Anderson finished the game with 92 yards, the most in the match.
The whole event was a celebration. Terrell Davis, Peyton Manning and John Elway, three Denver legends saluted three Lombardi Trophies which this franchise won. The crowd was loud the whole time, and the atmosphere was amazing.
When the national anthem was sung, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall followed the example of his fellow college teammate Colin Kaepernick and kneeled in the sign of protest. Marshall suffered a concussion in the first half, as he intentionally collided with Newton. This helmet-to-helmet hit wasn’t flagged, but Marshall will perhaps earn a fine.
Cam Newton was not that successful in the opener. Because of the tough defense he completed 18 of 33 passes for 194 yards and had a 14-yard touchdown for the receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Moreover, he had a one-yard race to the pylon for one more touchdown and a rushing 54 yards long.
It appears that Cam Newton wasn’t worried at all. He was caught by the camera flossing his teeth on the bench.
Denver linebacker Von Miller, who made a crucial sack was asked at the press conference did the Panthers focused on stopping him.
“Yes, I noticed it. They did a good job of chipping and double-teaming me, but we knew they couldn’t play a whole game like that. Eventually, it opened up for us, and we were able to get back there”, he said.
Olsen stated that this is the first game, and he is focused on the big picture:” It’s one game. Our only goal that’s not on the table is we can’t win them all. … This didn’t come down to one kick, on the drive, or one pass. This was a collective loss on the team.”