Broncos Rally Past Panthers, 21-20, in NFL Season Opener
Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with four seconds left, and the Broncos edged the Carolina Panthers, 21-20, in the 2016 NFL season opening game in Denver on Thursday night. The defending Super Bowl champions came back from a 10-point deficit — and three turnovers — to get the victory.
Trailing 17-7 at halftime and through the third quarter, Denver (1-0) rallied in the fourth, taking a 21-17 lead on C.J. Anderson’s 1-yard run with 9:26 to play. The pivotal touchdown was set up when Chris Harris Jr. intercepted a Cam Newton pass at the Carolina 38 yard-line with 14:15 to play.
After falling behind, Carolina (0-1) pulled within a point on a 26-yard field goal from Gano on the ensuing drive. However, his potential game-winning kick sailed wide left in the closing seconds, giving the Panthers the loss in the rematch of last season’s Super Bowl opponents.
Anderson carried 20 times for 92 yards and a score for the Broncos. He also caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian early in the fourth quarter. Siemian completed 18 of 26 passes for 178 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions en route to a win in his first-ever NFL start.
Newton completed 18 of 33 passes for 194 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He took several hard hits during the game, including two apparent blows to the head.
Denver starting linebacker Brandon Marshall knelt during the national anthem before the game. Marshall was a teammate of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick at the University of Nevada.