The running narrative on the NFL Network’s pregame show Sunday morning was that the Broncos will be in big trouble if they get behind early to the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 Sunday night.
Of course, the Panthers have made a habit of jumping out to big leads all season.
“If Peyton Manning gets down 14 to this Carolina Panthers team,” Hall of Fame defensive back Deion Sanders said, “I’m going to be sitting in the hotel room with drawers on, because it’s over. Peyton Manning, I don’t think he’s capable of bring this team back from 14 down.”
Sanders was reminded by some of his NFL Network co-hosts that Carolina’s defense, while one of the league’s best, has also blown some big leads (see Giants, New York, or Seahawks, Seattle) and that could happen again Sunday if Carolina were to jump out to a big lead.
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Sanders shook his head violently.
“This is the Super Bowl,” Sanders said. “They gon’ keep the pedal to the metal.”
Former Broncos star Terrell Davis, unapologetically pro-Denver all week, thinks, if trailing, Manning can channel his younger self and bring his team back. He pointed to a game earlier this season when Manning, before a recent foot injury, brought his team back from two touchdowns down by reverting to the familiar offense he’s used almost every year but this one. Before, he operated with formations that use four wide receivers and played much faster than Denver has in the postseason.
Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick simply said Denver’s best bet is to not fall behind -- and to do that....
“ If Denver is not going to be behind,” Billick said, “that defense will have to hold up against a bludgeoning...run game by the Carolina Panthers. Man for man, if you have a standard spacing box, you’re going to lose. (Denver defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips will have to add a guy (near the line of scrimmage) to stop the game of the Carolina Panthers or they have no chance of winning this game.”