DENVER (AP) – Denver’s dominant defense came up big against Cam Newton again and the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers Thursday night when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.
Newton was sacked three times and clobbered all night long but appeared to have done just enough to get a measure of revenge for that bludgeoning seven months earlier in Super Bowl 50, when Von Miller stripped the ball and the Lombardi Trophy from his grasp.
Newton put the Panthers on the cusp of victory with a 21-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Denver 32 in the closing seconds, and another short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. put Gano well within his range.
But Gano was wide left, and Trevor Siemian trotted out to take a knee in victory formation after his successful first NFL start. Peyton Manning’s successor finished 18 of 26 for 178 yards, one TD and two interceptions.