Former University of Kentucky star linebacker Danny Trevathan was part of a suffocating defense that led the Denver Broncos to a 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif.
Trevathan, making the second Super Bowl appearance of his career, led the Broncos with eight tackles and tied a Super Bowl single-game record with two fumble recoveries. He was the team’s top tackler for the regular season with 109.
“Everybody bet against us,” Trevathan told The Denver Post after the game. “They said Carolina has too much firepower. But they didn’t realize how much talent we have on defense, how much speed, how much athleticism, how much grit.”
The Broncos’ defense was No. 1 in the regular season yards allowed, passing yards allowed and sacks in the regular season. Then it beat Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Cam Newton in the postseason.
“You have to say this is a special, all-time defense,” said Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who was The Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year.
ESPN senior writer Greg Garber called one of Trevathan’s fumble recoveries the game’s “best save … and a beauty.”
“Newton was picked off by Denver strong safety T.J. Ward, but Ward put the ball on the ground when he was tackled by Mike Tolbert,” Garber wrote. “Fortunately for Ward, linebacker Danny Trevathan came out of the pile with the ball. The second-half play could have ended up with Carolina mere yards from the Denver end zone. They would never get closer.”
Trevathan didn’t hesitate to call the Broncos’ defense one of the best ever.
“You’re going to ask me? No. 1. No. 1 in my opinion, over ’85 Bears,” he told NFL.com. “If not No. 1, No. 2. I feel like we did a good job playing our games. It wasn’t ever pretty, but when you put it in our defense’s hand we always come up with that win.”
On Sunday, Denver’s defense kept Newton, the league’s MVP, jittery all day. Despite wearing gold shoes before the golden Super Bowl, Newton couldn’t finish off a dynamic season.
Von Miller, who was named Super Bowl MVP, twice stripped the ball from Newton, once for a touchdown, the second time setting up a clinching TD.
Denver’s top-ranked defense, the one that ran roughshod over Tom Brady in the AFC championship, simply wouldn’t let Newton get comfortable.
“It’s every one of these guys who got me to this,” Miller said.
Newton was sacked six times — receiver Ted Ginn Jr., went down once on an aborted trick play — and if Miller wasn’t torturing him, DeMarcus Ware was. Ware had two of the seven sacks, equaling the most ever by one team in the Super Bowl.
“He was stressed,” cornerback Bradley Roby said of Newton.
Carolina’s potent offense that led the league with 500 points was held to its fewest points of the year, and Denver set an ignominious mark with 194 yards gained, the fewest for a Super Bowl winner.