The Carolina Panthers trail the Denver Broncos 13-7 at halftime of Super Bowl in 50, and will need to find a way to neutralize the Broncos’ pass rush.
Coming into the game, the Broncos No. 1 priority was to put pressure on Panthers’ quarterback and NFL most valuable player Cam Newton. Under those circumstances, Newton’s passer rating drops from 112.6 to 71.1, the equivalent of going from Russell Wilson to Nick Foles.
So far, that game plan is working. The pressure on Newton has forced him to try and beat Denver with his legs rather than his arm. In the first half he has rushed five times for 46 yards, the longest a 14-yard scamper in the first quarter.
Newton is just 8 for 19 on passes, producing 95 yards in the air.
Plus, Denver has sacked Newton four times, including a strip sack by Von Miller which led to the Broncos first touchdown of the game.
There is still a half to play for the NFL championship, but, historically, teams with defensive touchdowns have fared well.