The Denver Broncos broke Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /

Cam Newton was on an incredible trajectory heading into a Super Bowl matchup against the Denver Broncos, and he’s been broken ever since.

Heading into their Super Bowl 50 matchup with the Denver Broncos, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers had won 17 of their 18 games played, including the regular season and playoffs.

Newton was a first-team All-Pro selection NFL MVP, and leader of the most unstoppable offense in the NFL. It looked like the Carolina Panthers were going to steamroll over the Broncos’ underachieving offense, despite the strength of their defense that season.

It didn’t exactly go as planned.

Newton’s 45 total touchdowns in the 2015 season didn’t mean a darn thing to the 2015 Denver Broncos defense, which in hindsight looks like one of the best defenses in league history. The Broncos dominated Newton all game long, confusing his passing rhythm, knocking him to the ground time after time, and generally rendering the almighty Panthers offense useless.

The Broncos won the Super Bowl 24-10, and Superman’s cape was clipped.

The next season, Newton started just 14 games and his production took a significant dip. His touchdown percentage was nearly cut in half and his interception total went up from 10, to 14, to 16, and to 13 (so far) this season.

Newton is not the unstoppable offensive force he was in 2015 and the Broncos have to have played a role in that. He was an ascending player three seasons ago and was on top of the world. He’s slowly got his numbers creeping back up again, but his impact on games hasn’t been anywhere near the type of impact we saw from him in that MVP season.

That type of production would be hard to reproduce, but Newton has been struggling through lingering shoulder problems and he’s no longer coming through for the Panthers in the clutch like he once did.

He has three fourth quarter comebacks over the past three seasons, and had three in 2015 alone. He has five game-winning drives the past three seasons, and had four in that banner 2015 season.

He’s just not the same guy.

In Super Bowl 50, Newton was sacked six times, hit 13, and completed just 18 of his 41 pass attempts. His confidence was clearly shaken in that game and the Panthers have gone 23-21 in the games Newton has started since that Super Bowl loss.

This was painfully evident in the Panthers’ Monday night home loss to the New Orleans Saints, who won by scoring only 12 points. If Newton is not healthy, he needs to be shut down. The Panthers were still playing for a playoff spot as of Monday night’s game, which is why Newton was still out there, but it’s becoming painfully obvious (if it wasn’t already) that when the going is tough, Newton’s game isn’t rising to the occasion.

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His troubles can be traced back to this blowout against the Broncos in which he was hit more than he probably ever has been in a single game, and where a defense took away everything that made him great.