Fifteen minutes are in the books, and there's already some controversy in Super Bowl 50, with the Denver Broncos leading the Carolina Panthers 10-0.
The Broncos offense got off to a hot start Sunday. Quarterback Peyton Manning completed four of his first five passes, including an 18-yard completion to tight end Owen Daniels on the game's first play.
That was a much better outcome than two years ago against the Seattle Seahawks, when the ball flew over Manning's head and went into the end zone for a safety. ESPN's Trey Wingo was quick to note this:
Already a better start than 2 years ago— trey wingo (@wingoz) February 7, 2016
Denver's opening drive was capped off by a 34-yard field goal by Brandon McManus with 10 minutes, 43 seconds remaining.
On Carolina's first drive, albeit a three-and-out, the Panthers offensive line held up well against the star-studded Denver pass rush.Panthers quarterback Cam Newton dropped back to throw twice and had plenty of time to throw. He missed wideout Corey Brown on what would've been a first down and fired a strike to tight end Greg Olsen on third down, only to come up a yard short.
NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal noted a positive despite the three-and-out:
Only positive for Panthers: Cam had plenty of time to throw on both drop backs.— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) February 7, 2016
That would not be the case on the ensuing drive. Broncos linebacker Von Miller sacked Newton, forcing a fumble Malik Jackson recovered for a touchdown to give Denver a 10-0 lead. Miller came through nearly untouched to get to Newton.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport noted—like it's been all year—how good this Denver defense is:
This #Broncos D... Pretty good.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 8, 2016
ESPN's Dan Graziano summed up Miller's play as simply as possible:
Holy crap, Von Miller.— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) February 8, 2016
But the touchdown didn't come without any controversy on, of all things, a catch. Two plays prior, Newton fired a pass over the middle to receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who bobbled the ball while falling to the ground. It was initially ruled an incomplete pass, but when the replay slowed down, the ball seemed to never touch the ground, appearing to be a catch.
Carolina challenged the call, but the incomplete ruling stood. Twitter, of course, poked fun at the NFL trying to figure out what a catch is, including Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman:
Father...father...tell me what is catch is?— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) February 8, 2016
Tim Cato from SB Nation jokingly mentioned a catch will soon be one of life's basic questions:
"where do babies come from?"— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) February 8, 2016
"do we have a purpose in life?"
"what constitutes an NFL catch?
Dallas Mavericks radio announcer Chuck Cooperstein took a jab at the confusing catch rule:
Worst rule in sports. This has to change. Why can't the NFL see this?— Chuck Cooperstein (@coopmavs) February 8, 2016
It was a tough first quarter for the Panthers, who only accumulated 28 total yards. It was their lowest total in a quarter this year, according to SportsCenter. But as expected, defense is dictating the tempo at the start. That no-catch call came back to bite the Panthers, but Carolina ended the first quarter near midfield.