Defense was expected to be the star of Super Bowl 50 and during the first 15 minutes it was, with a Von Miller strip-sack leading to a Broncos defensive touchdown in Sunday's first quarter.
Right out of the tunnel (after a rousing National Anthem from Lady Gaga) Broncos fans were rewarded with vintage Peyton Manning, as the field general completed three of his first four passes to fuel a field-goal scoring opening drive. Denver was unable to convert on a third and long and settled for a 34-yard Brandon McManus triple to go up 3-0.
In a pair of ensuing possessions the Broncos and Panthers each came up with big third down stops (stopping their opposition a yard shy) leading to a possible big-play on a seemingly complete pass from Cam Newton to Jerricho Cotchery. Called incomplete on the field, a Ron Rivera challenge went unoverturned.
Two plays later Miller stripped Newton with a meandering loose ball winding up covered by a Bronco, putting Denver up 10-0 on the defensive touchdown.
With the quarter winding down the Panthers began a respectable march to try and chip away at the Denver lead. Stay tuned.