Seeing that the rushing game helped the Panthers take an early lead, they were back at it again with a long drive fueled by the running game. Cameron Artis-Payne got some looks in due to a temporary hamstring injury to Jonathan Stewart while Jerricho Cotchery was the lone passing target on the drive with nine, three and 14-yard passes. Ultimately, as the rushing running back and quarterback playbook was figured out, the Panthers had to settle for a 31-yard field goal. It did take almost three minutes off the 6-minute clock, however.
Andre Caldwell started the comeback pretty strong with a 30-yard return but, unfortunately, you can’t run your Special Teams out on every play. A four-yard rush by Ronnie Hillman was met with two incomplete passes by Peyton Manning, meaning the Panthers would get the ball again on a three-and-out.
Ever mindful not to play the one offensive card you have, the Panthers wanted to end the first half of Super Bowl 50 with an impressive lead. After a five-yard Cam Newton rush, he play optioned a pass to Ginn Jr. for 21 yards, sneaked some more rushed by Stewart then really gained some ground with nine and twelve-yard passes to Greg Olsen. Cam tried to pass to Stewart on a 3rd and 1, but the loss of two yards meant Graham Gano had to kick once more; this time from 43 yards out. The kick was good, giving the Broncos one more shot before halftime.
I’m not sure what Gary Kubiak was thinking, but after two dropped passes by Manning, he opted to go with a rushing play on third down. Panthers used a timeout to stop the time, giving them a minute to make another scoring drive attempt. Passes to Jerricho Cotchery and Philly Brown went for 15 yards each, ultimately ending with a four-yard pass to Brown for a final touchdown ending the half.
End Of 2nd Quarter: Carolina Panthers 20 – Denver Broncos 0
Next: 3rd Quarter