The speedy Broncos defense set the tone early when outside linebacker Vonn Miller barreled into Newton and stripped the ball from his hands before defensive end Malik Jackson fell on the ball in the end zone for the game's first touchdown.
               
Constant pressure and smothering secondary coverage kept Newton and his top-ranked offense from establishing a rhythm.
               
Newton, the regular season's Most Valuable Player, completed 18 of 41 passes and finished with a quarterback rating that was well nearly half of his season average of 99.4.
               
A Miller sack in the fourth quarter forced another fumble from Newton that was recovered by safety TJ Ward to set up a touchdown four plays later and extinguish any hope for a Carolina comeback.
               
Miller, who was named Super Bowl MVP after the game, gave credit to his teammates.
               
"I'm so proud of my guys," Miller said on the gold glitter-covered field after the game. "It's been every last one of you guys in the locker room that has gotten me to this moment right here."
               
Miller, selected second overall in the 2011 NFL Draft after Newton went first, got the better of the matchup on Sunday.
               
He finished the game with 2-1/2 sacks, 6 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles to become only the 10th defensive player and fourth linebacker to be selected as Super Bowl MVP.
               
Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware tipped his hat to Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who was named assistant coach of the year on Saturday.
               
"He came in and figured out how to utilize the guys, utilize the talents," he said. "He changed everything up to where we could be more aggressive and get to the passer, but also create a lot of havoc."
               
Denver safety T.J. Ward said the number of Denver fans, which noticeably outnumbered the number of Panthers fans at the stadium on Sunday, helped tip the game in his team's direction.
               
"It definitely felt like a home game," he said. "Having them travel the way they did and show up and show that support, it was like being at Mile High."     

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