DENVER – The Denver Broncos still have the Carolina Panthers’ number. Even with a different number at quarterback.
Trevor Siemian is 1-0 as Peyton Manning’s successor, with a big assist from the vaunted Broncos defense that battered reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton in the second half of Thursday’s season-opening 21-20 triumph in the much-hyped Super Bowl 50 rematch.
Newton put on a show – throwing one touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin, running for another and peeling himself off the turf after a brutal, helmet-to-helmet hit by Broncos safety Darian Stewart in the final minute to get the Panthers in position for a game-winning field goal attempt.
But Graham Gano’s 50-yard boot sailed wide left with 4 seconds to go, bringing cheers from a crowd that started the night cheering Terrell Davis, John Elway and Manning as they brought the franchise’s three Lombardi Trophies onto the field.
Siemian did his part to keep the party going in his first regular-season game action, completing 18 of 26 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions – one tipped, the other with a blitzer in his face – but had a smile on his face as he came on for the kneeldown.
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