Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders: Totals 83 yards receiving in Super Bowl victory
Emmanuel Sanders secured six of eight targets for 83 yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Panthers.
The 28-year-old led Denver in targets and receptions, taking advantage of the fact that Josh Norman's attention was focused primarily on Demaryius Thomas. Sanders made several key receptions throughout the game, and was the Denver's leading receiver in the postseason with 16 receptions on 24 targets for 230 yards. With Thomas struggling late in the regular season and postseason, Sanders was arguably the more effective of the two over the second half of the 2015 campaign. Coming off a second consecutive 1,000-yard season, he figures to once again serve as a centerpiece of Denver's offensive attack next season.
Broncos' C.J. Anderson: Posts 100 yards of total offense, touchdown in Super Bowl victory
C.J. Anderson gained 90 yards on 23 carries and scored a rushing touchdown, while also securing four of four targets for 10 yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl victory over the Panthers.
The third-year pro was named the starter heading into the game and was the clear-cut workhorse on the day, earning 90 tough yards against a talented Panthers front seven. The 23 carries were by far a season high for Anderson, who tallied 234 yards over three postseason games. He ripped off his game-long 34-yard run in the second quarter on the second play following a Mike Tolbert fumble, and impressively muscled his way into the end zone late in the fourth quarter for the deciding touchdown following Von Miller's strip sack of Cam Newton. Anderson was once again productive in 2015 as part of a timeshare in the Denver backfield, and likely goes into the offseason set to compete with Ronnie Hillman for starting duties in 2016.
Broncos' Peyton Manning: Throws for 141 yards in Super Bowl victory
Unlike his first Super Bowl victory nearly a decade ago, Manning was much more of a secondary figure Sunday, largely managing the game while C.J. Anderson ran effectively and the
Panthers' Mike Tolbert: Totals 18 yards rushing, fumbles twice in Super Bowl loss
Mike Tolbert gained 18 yards on five carries in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Broncos. He also fumbled twice, losing one.
The eight-year veteran had a difficult time holding onto the ball against an opportunistic and hard-hitting Denver front seven, getting stripped at the Broncos 40-yard line in the second quarter by Darian Stewart after a game-long 11-yard run. Tolbert was also separated from the ball in the first quarter, but was able to recover. The Coastal Carolina product was once again used sparingly on offense in his fourth Carolina Panthers season, carrying the ball 62 times and securing 18 receptions. However, he served as valuable veteran insurance in Jonathan Stewart's first season as a feature back, and heads into free agency with the likelihood of filling a similar role on either the Panthers or another club in 2016.
Panthers' Jerricho Cotchery: Totals 17 yards receiving in Super Bowl loss
Jerricho Cotchery secured two of five targets for 17 yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Broncos.
The veteran had some trouble hanging on to the ball, failing to come down with a couple of contested passes against a swarming Broncos secondary. The 12-year veteran nevertheless was a productive component of the Carolina Panthers offense in 2015, grabbing 39 receptions (26 of which went for first downs) for 485 yards and three touchdowns as one of Cam Newton's most trusted move-the-chain targets. While his 80-plus reception years are in the rearview mirror, Cotchery's character in the locker room and savvy on the field figure to earn him a spot on an NFL roster in 2016.
Panthers' Devin Funchess: Totals 40 yards receiving in Super Bowl loss
The Michigan product's highlight of the game was a key 24-yard grab on third down late in the second quarter, helping to extend a
Panthers' Greg Olsen: Totals 41 receiving yards in Super Bowl loss
Greg Olsen secured four of nine targets for 41 yards in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Broncos.
Cam Newton's favorite target turned in a rather ordinary Super Bowl performance, as both time and pass-catching opportunities were at a premium against Denver's stalwart defense. His game-long 19-yard reception did help set up Carolina's first touchdown, with Olsen creating all the yardage on his run after making the grab at the line of scrimmage. Despite the failed championship bid, Olsen commemorated a second successful campaign in as many seasons in a Carolina Panthers uniform, breaking the 1,000-yard mark through the air for the second consecutive year while also hauling in 77 receptions and recording seven touchdowns.
Panthers' Ted Ginn: Tallies 74 yards receiving in Super Bowl loss
The 30-year-old was unable to convert many of his game-high 10 targets due to a suffocating Broncos defense, but did secure a game-long 45-yard pass from Cam Newton on the second play of the third quarter. Denver was also careful to not allow Ginn many opportunities to do some of his trademark damage on punt returns, limiting him to just two yards on the three occasions in which he touch the ball on special teams. Despite difficulties hanging on to the ball at times throughout 2015, Ginn certainly proved to be serviceable and at times dynamic big-play threat. He hauled in 44 receptions for 739 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns during the campaign, serving as a particularly valuable weapon in the season-long absence of Kelvin Benjamin (knee).
Panthers' Jonathan Stewart: Gains 29 yards rushing, scores touchdown in Super Bowl loss
The eight-year veteran, who endured foot and ankle ailments late in the season and postseason, avoided serious injury in the first quarter after his left leg was trapped under several players following a run and he was momentarily bent backward at an awkward angle. Stewart limped off the field and returned late in the period, eventually diving into the end zone from one-yard out early in the second quarter to close out a nine-play, 73-yard drive. The 28-year-old otherwise found tough sledding against a ferocious Denver front that yielded little on the day. Although his season concluded with a thud, Stewart gave the
Panthers' Cam Newton: Throws for 265 yards, one interception in Super Bowl loss
Cam Newton completed 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards and an interception, and was also sacked six times in Sunday's 24-10 Super Bowl loss to the Denver Broncos. He gained 45 yards on six rushes and fumbled twice, losing both.
The sixth-year pro's adrenaline seemed to get the best of him early, and a relentless Broncos defense did him in the rest of the way. Newton looked as unsettled as he had all season, rarely enjoying the kind of time he had benefited from throughout his MVP campaign. He was brought down six times, knocked down on 13 occasions, and hurried 17 times overall. Newton also had several overthrows, and his offensive options were further compromised after receiver Philly Brown was forced from the game in the third quarter with a concussion. The Broncos' defensive gameplan and furious pass rush frequently stymied Newton's ability to make game-altering plays on the ground, and forced him into three particularly untimely miscues. Von Miller's sack of Newton in the first quarter led to a Malik Jackson fumble recovery that gave Denver an early 10-0 lead, while T.J Ward's interception of a pass intended for Ted Ginn, Jr. at the Broncos' 10-yard line short-circuited the Carolina Panthers ' opening drive of the third quarter. The game was effectively over when Miller got to Newton again with 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter and separated him from the ball for a second time, setting up the Broncos offense at the Panthers' five-yard line. Despite the season-ending disappointment, Newton and the Panthers established a formidable foundation on which to build for another championship run, an undertaking that figures to be greatly aided by the return of standout wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin from injury and any additional weapons acquired in the offseason.
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