NFL season begins with instant classic between Broncos, Panthers

By Joe Giordano || Sports Editor

This past Thursday, the NFL opened the season with a Super Bowl rematch between the defending champions, the Denver Broncos, and the Carolina Panthers. The game received an incredible amount of hype leading up to it and many doubted whether it could possibly live up to the amazing first game between the two teams. In what can be considered an instant classic, the Broncos triumphed by a score of 21-20. The game was filled with back and forth action and definitely set the tone for what is sure to be an incredible season of football.

Leading into the game, all eyes were on Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and how he would respond to the loss the Panthers suffered in the Super Bowl. Would Carolina’s superman return with a vengeance to get revenge on the stubborn Broncos defense which gave him fits in their first meeting? Or would Von Miller and the Broncos stellar defense reek havoc on the Panthers again? In addition, after losing star quarterback Peyton Manning to retirement, how would new starter Trevor Siemian respond to the bright lights and pressure of an opening night game. Right from kickoff both quarterbacks showed they were ready to go and prove themselves. On their very first drive, the Panthers cruised down the field 71 yards and scored a touchdown as Newton connected with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. After settling into the game after throwing an interception, Siemian responded by leading his team down the field for a score and tying the game in the process.

The back and forth for rest of the game found the Panthers leading 17-7 going into the fourth quarter. But, the Broncos stormed out of the gate in the fourth quarter and scored after only 10 seconds to bring the game within three points. A Carolina turnover then turned into another Broncos touchdown and quickly the Panthers lead turned to a 21-17 Broncos lead.

With only three minutes remaining and down by only one point, the Panthers received the ball needing only a field goal to win the game. Would Cam lead his team down the field and win the game or would Von Miller and the Broncos defense once again prevail? Cam Newton did his very best to not let history repeat itself and to lead his team down the field and set up Graham Gano for a 50-yard field goal to win the game. As Newton watched in dismay, Gano shanked the field goal as the Panthers hopes for revenge were crushed.

While there was a bit of controversy in regards to hits to the helmet on Newton, the rematch lived up to the hype and was an excellent showcase for each team. Both teams revealed that they were capable of returning to the Super Bowl and can still play at a high level.

Whether you were a casual viewer or a die-hard fan of either team it was an amazing game to watch. With so much excitement and potential for the rest of the NFL season, fans can be very happy to finally see football back.

Junior Joe Giordano is the Sports Editor. His email is jgiorda1@fandm.edu.

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