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Super Bowl 50: First-quarter key plays

By Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 7, 2016 at 8:12 PM
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Pass protection was a critical concern for the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter of Super Bowl 50.

Here are the critical plays from the opening quarter:

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--Third-and-10, Panthers at their own 15-yard line.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was sacked at his own 5-yard line by Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, who pawed the ball away. Defensive lineman Malik Jackson fell on the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown and 10-0 Denver lead. The fumble recovery for a touchdown was the first in 22 years in the Super Bowl. Miller gave Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers trouble for much of the quarter. On the sack-fumble, Remmers lunged the wrong way, and Miller was on Newton before the 6-foot-5, 250-pound quarterback completed a dropback.

Newton was sacked twice in the quarter.

--On the previous play, Panthers leading rusher Jonathan Stewart limped to the sideline with a left knee injury. He went to the ground on his back with his left leg underneath him for a short loss when Broncos defensive tackle Derek Wolfe fired through the line and dragged Stewart down. Stewart returned to action later in the quarter.

--First-and-10, Denver from own 20.

On the first snap of the game, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning lined up with three receivers and immediately faced a blitz -- Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott brought pressure on the first two plays -- but hit tight end Owen Daniels for a gain of 18 yards. He completed a 6-yard pass on the next play.

--Third-and-4, Denver from own 38. Manning completed a 22-yard pass down the right sideline to wide receiver Andre Caldwell to put the Broncos in field-goal range. Running back C.J. Anderson had runs of 7 and 13 yards on consecutive plays, but the drive ended in kicker Brandon McManus' 34-yard field goal.

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