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:
trey wingo @wingoz
Already a better start than 2 years ago2/7/2016, 11:40:06 PM
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:
Gregg Rosenthal @greggrosenthal
Only positive for Panthers: Cam had plenty of time to throw on both drop backs.2/7/2016, 11:54:11 PM
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:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
This #Broncos D... Pretty good.2/8/2016, 12:08:20 AM
ESPN's Dan Graziano summed up Miller's play as simply as possible:
Dan Graziano @DanGrazianoESPN
Holy crap, Von Miller.2/8/2016, 12:08:20 AM
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:
mike freeman @mikefreemanNFL
Father...father...tell me what is catch is?2/8/2016, 12:07:12 AM
Tim Cato from SB Nation jokingly mentioned a catch will soon be one of life's basic questions:
Tim Cato @tim_cato
"where do babies come from?" "do we have a purpose in life?" "what constitutes an NFL catch?2/8/2016, 12:14:52 AM
Dallas Mavericks radio announcer Chuck Cooperstein took a jab at the confusing catch rule:
Chuck Cooperstein @coopmavs
Worst rule in sports. This has to change. Why can't the NFL see this?2/8/2016, 12:07:04 AM
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.
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