RICHMOND, VA (WRIC/AP) — Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others, and Carolina’s big-play defense stifled the league’s top-ranked offense in a 49-15 romp Sunday for the NFC championship. It was the most points for a winner of an NFC title game.
The NFL’s new top man at quarterback — Newton is an All-Pro this season — will lead the Panthers against five-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in two weeks.
“Playing the sheriff,” Newton said of Manning. “We’re going to live in the moment right now. We’re going to be excited.”
It will be Newton’s first trip to the Super Bowl and the second trip to the big game for the Panthers (17-1), who lost to New England 12 years ago. Denver, of course, has made a habit of going to Super Bowls, reaching it for a record-tying eighth time.
“We won as a team,” Newton said. “We came out here and fought our tails off and we did what a lot of people said we couldn’t do. It’s not over yet. We’ll be ready to go in two weeks.”
And while the Broncos’ defense carried it past New England 20-18 for the AFC crown, Carolina’s D was just as destructive. It picked off Carson Palmer four times, forced two fumbles by him, and never let up the assault.
Special teams also had a takeaway, and when Carolina grabbed a 24-7 halftime lead this time, it didn’t back off, as it did in nearly blowing a 31-point margin a week ago vs. Seattle.