Carolina Panthers

Broncos used well-timed blitzes to put pressure on Panthers, Cam Newton

The Denver Broncos often sent more rushers than Carolina’s blockers could account for, including Von Miller, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.
The Denver Broncos often sent more rushers than Carolina’s blockers could account for, including Von Miller, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. AP

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera hadn’t been able to review the film of his team’s 24-10 Super Bowl 50 loss to Denver by Tuesday afternoon because of technical difficulties.

Despite that, he still knew one of the main causes of his offense’s woes.

The Broncos’ No. 1 defense was able to exploit its one-on-one matchups with Carolina’s offensive tackles by sending blitzes that occupied the help.

“People said, ‘Oh you could have given more help to your tackles.’ Yes, we could have,” Rivera said Tuesday, “but you’ve also got to look at those specific plays and what else went on.

“On a couple of those plays they blitzed and brought the house and you can’t block everybody, especially when they bring one more than you have to protect.”

On those all-out blitzes, there’s little more a team can do. Denver dialed up the right blitz at the right time and got to Cam Newton, who was sacked six times.

Other times, though, Denver did what’s called “green-dog blitzing.”

The Panthers regularly use a tight end and/or fullback to help protect on passing plays. When Carolina’s offensive scheme called for Denver to be in man-to-man defense, Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips decided to send the defender assigned to that fullback or tight end into the backfield.

If Phillips could determine that the help would remain in the backfield and not just chip a blocker before going into his route, the blitzer could add more pressure on Newton.

“As we evaluate it, we’ll have to determine better decisions for us as coaches, better plays to put the players in better positions,” Rivera said. “That’s something we’ll have to learn from as a coaching staff.”

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