Von Miller strips Newton, Malik Jackson falls on ball for TD

Getty Images

The Broncos defense has forced the first turnover of the Super Bowl and it led directly to the first touchdown of the game.

On third down from the Carolina 15-yard-line, Broncos linebacker came off the left edge and barreled into Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Miller yanked the football out of Newton’s hands before taking him to the ground and defensive end Malik Jackson fell on the ball for a touchdown.

Brandon McManus’ extra point extended Denver’s lead to 10-0 with 6:27 left in the first quarter of the game.

The play came a couple of snaps after a pass to Jerricho Cotchery was ruled incomplete on the field. Coach Ron Rivera challenged that Cotchery caught the ball, but the call was upheld. Running back Jonathan Stewart was stopped for no gain on second down and then limped off the field after taking a painful looking shot to the back of his leg.

The Panthers have played from in front for most of the season, but they’ll have to dig out of an early hole to win the Super Bowl.

UPDATE 4:16 p.m. ET: Stewart is questionable to return with a foot injury.