Denver took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter thanks primarily to a Von Miller sack of Cam Newton deep in Panthers territory; Newton fumbled the ball into the end zone, and Malik Jackson recovered there to provide the Broncos with the first touchdown of the championship game.
Carolina struck back to start the second quarter, with Jonathan Stewart diving over the top from a yard out to cut the Denver lead to 10-7. But Denver's offense, despite its struggles after the opening possession of the game, was able to pad the lead to 13-7 after a 61-yard punt return from Jordan Norwood put the Broncos in field goal range.
Both quarterbacks are struggling - Peyton Manning has just 76 passing yards, and threw an interception to Panthers end Kony Ealy, while Newton is just 8-of-19 for 95 yards with the lost fumble, though he does have 46 rushing yards - which is a testament to how well both defenses are playing.
Can Denver keep up the pace enough to maintain their lead for two more quarters? Or will Carolina claw back, one way or the other, to overcome their early mistakes and claim their first Super Bowl title?
The Panthers will have the ball first in the second half. Let's talk about the third quarter of the Super Bowl right here.