The Panthers scored 580 points in their first 18 games this season, an average of 32.2 points per game that they didn’t come close to hitting against the Broncos in Super Bowl 50.
Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said after the game that he’s “not sure” exactly why the team was off on Sunday, but that the Broncos defense had a lot to do with knocking his unit off its game.
“Well, we tried a lot of different things. We knew those guys coming in were the best we’ve seen and they proved it. They’re fast to the ball, they can rush the passer, they do a good job against the run game. A lot of contested catches. They were contesting our receivers. You throw in the fact that we were just off on some things — had a couple turnovers early, just a little bit off on some other things. It can add up, and unfortunately it looked like that.”
When things have gone right for the Panthers this season, they’ve jumped out to early leads and then poured pressure on opponents who had to take risks in order to catch up. They found themselves on the other side of the fence this Sunday and their offense couldn’t handle the pressure that Denver threw their way. You can break things down more minutely than that if you like, but sometimes the simplest answers work best.