It will be a battle of No. 1 seeds for Super Bowl 50.
The Carolina Panthers rode a commanding offense and dominate defense to advance to Super Bowl 50 with a 49-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
This marks the Panthers’ second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. Their first came back in 2004 when they lost to the New England Patriots, 32-29. Carolina will face the No. 1 seed AFC Champion Denver Broncos on Feb. 7.
With the league’s two best offenses going head-to-head for a chance to go to Super Bowl 50, there was an expectation that we’d get a shootout. But this game was over not long after it began as Carolina immediately took control in all phases of the game. jumped out to a 17-0 lead before taking a 24-7 lead into halftime.
Cam Newton and the Panthers offense wasted no time in establishing a rhythm. After a field goal on their first possession, the Panthers scored a pair of touchdowns on consecutive drives to jump out to a 17-0 lead that left the Cardinals stunned and their defense fuming on the sidelines. One defense that wasn’t fuming were the Panthers, who were able to get to Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer often and frequently frustrate what statistically ranked as the league’s No. 1 offense in the regular season.
But all it takes is one successful drive to breathe life into a team. The Cardinals rode the legs of rookie running back David Johnson for their first score of the game in the second quarter. But just when it seemed like the Cardinals were building some momentum in the second quarter, Palmer coughed the ball up in Arizona territory setting Carolina up to strike.
Carolina, riding a 24-7 lead, looked poised to extend that lead, but Newton was picked off by Patrick Peterson who returned the ball 72 yards to set the Cardinals up within striking distance. It seemed as if fate had given Arizona another chance. Only Palmer squandered that chance on the first play of the drive with an interception in the end zone.
Things only got worse for the Cardinals in the second half. While the Panthers are notorious for blowing big leads in the second half, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line they were near flawless scoring 25 second-half points en route to a blowout of the NFC’s No. 2 seed.
Arizona committed seven turnovers, six of which Palmer was responsible for. He had two fumbles and four interceptions in what was a miserable performance on the game’s second biggest stage.
The Panthers led this game from start to finish and they made damn sure that they weren’t going to let this one slip away with Super Bowl 50 on the line.
Game Ball To…
Cam Newton. Is there any question about it? The sure-to-be NFL MVP showed exactly why he’s worthy of the honor as he led his team in an absolute dominating victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Newton was 19-for-28 for 335 yards and added 47 yards on the ground, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for two more all the while making the days of children in the end zone.