If Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis’ broken arm bothered him Sunday during Super Bowl 50, he certainly didn’t play like it.
And, after the Panthers’ 24-10 loss against the Denver Broncos, Davis wasn’t going to use it as an excuse.
“I’m fine,” Davis said after the game. “It’s one of those things where you go into the game with a game plan. We executed it from a body standpoint. The trainers did an amazing job of making sure I was ready to go and I didn’t have any issues during the game.”
But there was doubt for at least a little while that he would even play Sunday after he broke his forearm in the NFC Championship Game two weeks ago against the Arizona Cardinals. Davis had surgery the next day, during which a plate and several screws were inserted in his arm.
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“I thought I played fine,” said Davis. “I had no issues. I went out and just did what I could do. I didn’t hurt my team.”
Davis had seven tackles – five individual and two assists – with one for a loss. He was, as usual, around the ball most of the time.
“He played great,” said Panthers rookie linebacker Shaq Thompson. “With a broken arm, I don’t know if anyone else would be playing like that.”
Said Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott: “(For him) to go out there 13 days out of surgery, he’s just a warrior. He’s one of our leaders on and off the field, so I’m extremely proud of what Thomas has done for this organization and this defense. That’s who we are. That’s our identity and I’m very proud to be associated with a man like Thomas Davis.”
Davis is no stranger to coming back from injury. He is believed to be the only player in NFL history to return to play after having three anterior cruciate ligament surgeries.
So a Super Bowl loss, while disappointing, is not something Davis thinks the Panthers can’t recover from.
“We know what it took to get to this point,” Davis said. “We have a lot of work to do this offseason. It’s never easy. It’s never easy to just say you’re going to be back. We have to go out there and we have to work. That’s what we did all season long. It’s really tough to be sitting in this situation, with the kind of season we had. We just came up short.
“We’re still a relatively young football team. We’re all going to stay together as a team.”
The Panthers lost despite holding the Broncos to 194 total yards, allowing them just one third down conversion (out of 14 tries) and sacking Denver quarterback Peyton Manning five times.
But Davis said he never felt like the Panthers’ defense could ever really take control as it has in so many games this season.
“It really did feel different,” David said. “We put ourselves in situations to make plays and to get the job done. But they just found ways at the perfect times to stop our drives and our opportunities.
“They executed. Their defense created more turnovers and more opportunities than our defense did. That’s what it came down to.”