While that quarterback may have been named Peyton Manning, this was not the Manning of old. Though the Panthers visibly seemed to be diminishing in confidence, they knew that winning the Super Bowl was still within reach, so they attempted several runs and long passes to score a touchdown that would either tie the score or give them a one point lead.
It will be interesting to see how the offseason plays out; but it looks like no matter who is under center for the Denver Broncos next season, their defense will continue to remain strong as they contend for a repeat.
That same question could be asked to Denver's All-Pro defensive end, Demarcus Ware. Cornerback Aqib Talib and safeties T.J. Anything different they put in for this game? His ability to force turnovers and pressure the quarterback keyed the Denver Broncos throughout the playoffs. That's the way it used to be in Baltimore.
Ron Rivera defended Newton, saying that he is a competitor who wants to win and the criticism has been "unfair". As the league transitions to the offseason, and teams focus on improving rosters for 2016, it's hard to deny that the straightest line to a championship is riding an elite-level quarterback. Here is the exact moment Newton began his throwing motion.
"When you invest so much time and sacrifice so much and things don't go as planned, I think emotions take over", Newton said. "I've got no more tears to cry", he said.
"OK. I didn't get the fumble, but we can play tit for tat", Newton said. The Panthers were used to doing the punching, but this time the Broncos were the bullies.
So did tight end Greg Olsen. He moved Miller around and sometimes used him in the middle as a spy on Newton. "What a win! The Denver Broncos' perseverance and skill showed up tonight in a big way", Hancock said.
They also held Carolina, which had the NFL's top-scoring offense (31.3 ppg), to just 10 points. After the win he told a reporter, "I want to go kiss my wife and my kids".
So instead of the $138,250 tax bill he would have faced had the Panthers won, Newton has to pay $137,900 - a savings of $350. It wasn't nothing special that they did.
There is plenty to be said for the impact of a great defense.
Final score: Denver 24, Carolina 10.