Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Kony Ealy entered rare company early in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl 50 when he sacked Peyton Manning for the third time.
According to NFL.com, he is just one of three players in Super Bowl history with three sacks in a single appearance, joining Green Bay's Reggie White and Arizona's Darnell Dockett. As SportsCenter noted, Ealy also added an interception and a forced fumble on the night.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports provided more stats from Ealy's magnificent performance:
Ealy's plays were not inconsequential, either. His interception came in the first half as Denver was driving toward the Carolina red zone. His third sack caused Manning to fumble, and he recovered it at midfield. The Panthers drove downfield and kicked a field goal to cut the lead to 16-10 with 10 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the game.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted that the media should have focused more extensively on Ealy leading up to the game:
The second-year lineman out of the University of Missouri played in all 16 regular-season games for the Panthers in 2015, starting nine, while recording five sacks. He did not intercept a pass, so in three-plus quarters in the Super Bowl, he nearly matched his season stats.
Had the Panthers won the game, it would have been hard not to hand the MVP trophy to Ealy.