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BRONCOS 36, PANTHERS 14

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Denver Broncos 36, Carolina Panthers 14

By Jonathan Jones
jjones@charlotteobserver.com

Final score: Broncos 36, Panthers 14

Scoring play: A 5-yard touchdown rush by Ronnie Hillman.

Drive: 4 plays, 54 yards, 1:45

Key play: A 44-yard pass by Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas. The play came from midfield and put the Broncos inside the Panthers' 10.

Time of game: 3:23 in the fourth.

Broncos 29, Panthers 14

Scoring play: A 5-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Greg Olsen.

Drive: 10 plays, 77 yards, 4:22.

Key play: An 18-yard pass to Olsen from the Denver 40 to get Carolina in the red zone.

Time of game: 5:09 in the fourth quarter.

Worth mentioning: Steve Smith wasn't in the game for nearly the entire series. He does not appear to be injured. At the time of this post, he was sitting on the defense's bench.

Broncos 29, Panthers 7

Key play: A Mike Adams safety on Cam Newton.

Time: 10:24 in the fourth

Worth mentioning: Newton took two consecutive sacks. The first one went for -11 to the Carolina 2, the second went for a safety.

Broncos 27, Panthers 7

Scoring play: A 27-yard field goal by Matt Prater

Drive: 9 plays, 62 yards, 3:25

Key play: A 22-yard pass from Peyton Manning to Joel Dreessen. Manning fonud Dreesen, his ninth receiver of the day, on a 1-and-10 from the Carolina 30. The play got Denver inside the Panthers' 10.

Time of game: 14:17 in the fourth.

Worth mentioning: The Panthers are 0-for-9 on third down conversions this game.

Broncos 24, Panthers 7

Scoring play: A 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by Tony Carter.

Key play: Von Miller got pressure on Cam Newton after beating Ben Hartsock, who could have been flagged for holding. Miller wrapped up Newton's feet as he threw to Brandon LaFell along the far sideline. Tony Carter stepped in front and returned the pick.

Time of game: 9:59 in the third quarter.

Worth mentioning: The Panthers had just held the Broncos to their second three-and-out of the second half before the pick-six. Charles Johnson had sacked Peyton Manning for the first time all game and forced Manning to fumble, and the Panthers recovered.

Halftime: Broncos 17, Panthers 7

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are making sure John Fox's return to Bank of America Stadium is a pleasant one.

With Manning doing what he does best -- picking holes in the defense -- the Broncos have built a 17-7 halftime lead over the Panthers today.

Manning completed 16 of 20 passes for 135 yards in the first half as Denver dominated the action. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed nine of 16 passes for 127 yards.

It started well for the Panthers, who took an early 7-0 lead on one of their sharpest offensive possessions of the season.

The Panthers went 77 yards in six plays, carving up the Denver defense behind Newton's passing. Newton completed four passes in the drive, including consecutive 26-yard completions to tight end Greg Olsen and running back Mike Tolbert. Newton found Olsen on a four-yard pass for the touchdown midway through the second quarter.

Then the Broncos took over.

With good field position starting at their own 41-yard line, the Broncos got a 32-yard reception from Manning to Demaryius Thomas to the Carolina 22-yard line. Three plays later, Manning found Brandon Stokely on a misdirection pass for a 14-yard touchdown to tie the game 7-7.

A familiar Panthers problem resurfaced on the first play of the second quarter when Trindon Holliday returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 Broncos lead.

While the Panthers' offense stalled, going three-and-out on four straight possessions, the Broncos kept moving, tacking on a 53-yard Matt Prater field goal for a 17-7 lead with 10:12 left in the second quarter.

Panthers kicker Justin Medlock missed a 43-yard field goal attempt with 40 seconds remaining.

Broncos 17, Panthers 7

Scoring play: A 53-yard field goal by Matt Prater.

Drive: 6 plays, 20 yards, 3:26

Key play: On 2-and-2 from the Carolina 40, Manning found Willis McGahee along hte far sideline for what appeared to be an improbable catch to get in the Carolina red zone. But McGahee stepped out of bounds without being forced out and was flagged for illegal touching, bringing the big gain back.

Time of game: 10:12 in the second quarter.

Worth mentioning: Just spotted the camo towels the teams are using for Veterans Day. Yet another gesture to the servicemen and women as the NFL honors them league-wide today.

Broncos 14, Panthers 7

Scoring play: A 76-yard punt return by Trindon Holliday.

Key play: Holliday fielded the ball at the 24-yard line and made gunner Colin Jones miss. He went down the Panthers sideline and narrowly avoiding being pushed out by punter Brad Nortman.

Worth mentioning: He had a 105-yard return for a touchdown against Carolina in the preseason when he was with the Texans.

Panthers 7, Broncos 7

Scoring play: A 10-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Brandon Stokley.

Drive: 5 plays, 59 yards, 2:16

Key play: A 24-yard pass from Manning to Demaryius Thomas. The pass came on 2-and-5, and Manning fonud Thomas in the middle of the field, exploiting the Panthers' soft spot in the coverage.

Time of game: 1:32 in the first quarter.

Worth mentioning: Manning has already hit five different receivers in the first quarter.

Panthers 7, Broncos 0

Scoring play: A 4-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Greg Olsen.

Drive: 6 plays, 77 yards, 3:04

Key play: A 26-yard pass from Newton to Olsen on 2-and-8 put the Panthers on Denver's side of the field. Olsen worked hard to get free on his route, and Newton found his tight end wide open on the Panthers sideline to get to the Broncos' 49.

Time of game: 6:46 in the first quarter.

Worth mentioning: Mike Tolbert caught a screen pass from Newton just after Olsen's 26-yard catch for another 26-yard gain for the Panthers. The pass was Tolbert's longest gain of the season, and he showed great speed along the far sideline to get the Panthers knocking at the red zone. Also, Newton is 6-for-6 passing so far.

Pregame

There were no real surprises on the Panthers' inactive list, where rookie returner Joe Adams seems to have a permanent place.

Even with the Panthers putting kick returner Kealoha Pilares on injured reserve, Adams remains in Ron Rivera's doghouse following his two-fumble night against the Giants in Week 3.

Captain Munnerlyn will return punts. Rivera said he will choose from among wideouts David Gettis, Louis Murphy and Armanti Edwards to return kicks.

The rest of the Panthers' inactives: QB Jimmy Clausen, S D.J. Campbell, OL Bruce Campbell, LB Jason Williams and DEs Antwan Applewhite and Thomas Keiser.

--Joseph Person

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