Broncos survive late FG miss to beat Panthers
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[September 09, 2016]
(The Sports Xchange) - The
Denver Broncos began the new season the same way they ended last
season, by beating the Carolina Panthers.
In the NFL's kickoff game, C.J. Anderson ran for a score and caught
another in the fourth quarter, and the Broncos beat the Carolina
Panthers 21-20 on Thursday night in a Super Bowl rematch.
Denver beat the Panthers 24-10 in the championship game seven months
Trevor Siemian, starting in place of the retired Peyton Manning,
overcame two interceptions in his NFL starting debut to throw for a
late score to help the Broncos rally.
Cam Newton ran for a score, passed for another and led the Panthers
to within field goal range in the final seconds, but Graham Gano's
50-yard try was wide left.
During the pregame playing of the national anthem, Denver linebacker
Brandon Marshall took a knee. Marshall was a college teammate at
Nevada with San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been
taking a knee during the anthem to protest racial injustice.
Trailing by 10, the Broncos pulled to within 17-14 when Anderson
turned a screen pass from Siemian into a 25-yard touchdown with
On Carolina's ensuing possession, corner back Chris Harris tipped
Newton's pass intended for Kelvin Benjamin and caught the deflection
for the interception as he tumbled to the ground. A roughing penalty
on Carolina guard Andrew Norwell gave the Broncos possession at the
Panthers' 23-yard line.
Anderson converted a 4th-and-1 play to give the Broncos a fresh set
of downs inside Carolina's 2-yard line and bulled his way into the
end zone on third down to put Denver in front for the first time.
Newton gamely drove the Panthers to the Broncos 18, but his
third-down pass for Devin Funchess was knocked down by corner back
Aqib Talib, leading to Gano's 36-yard field goal with 4:21 remaining
to pull Carolina to within a point.
After forcing a Denver punt, Carolina got the ball at its 40-yard
line with 3:06 left. Denver's defense induced a false start penalty
followed by successive sacks of Newton by DeMarcus Ware and Von
Miller. But an illegal hands to the face penalty against Harris
negated a fourth-down incompletion and extended Carolina's
[to top of second column]
Broncos players celebrate after a missed field goal attempt by the
Carolina Panthers in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at
Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Dominating possession time and twice thwarting Denver drives by
forcing turnovers, Carolina took a 17-7 halftime lead.
Newton, capitalizing on a fumble by rookie running back Devontae
Booker on his first NFL carry, finished a 71-yard first-quarter
drive with a 14-yard pass to Benjamin. Carolina's first-round pick
in 2014, Benjamin was back on the field after missing all of last
season with a knee injury.
The Broncos misfired on anther drive ending in an interception of a
Siemian pass by linebacker Shaq Thompson before getting on the
scoreboard with a 28-yard touchdown run by rookie fullback Andy
Newton answered by leading an 18-play, 89-yard drive. He dodged
pressure to complete a key third-down pass to tight end Greg Olsen
to keep the drive going and finished it with a quarterback sweep
from 2 yards, diving over the pylon with the ball in one hand for
Gano added a 44-yard field goal just before the half ended.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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