Cam Newton had a rough night in Super Bowl 50 as the Denver Broncos defence held the Carolina Panthers to just ten points. But there is one play in particular that still has a lot of people shaking their heads — the fourth quarter fumble that Newton didn’t attempt to recover.
The play came with just over four minutes to go in the game and the Panthers down just six points and looking for a go-ahead touchdown. On the third-down play, the MVP of the Super Bowl, Von Miller, stormed around the left end and stripped the ball as Newton was starting a pass.
At this point, the ball was laying on the ground and one Broncos defender started to get a hand on the ball. Newton, for reasons unknown to everybody, started towards the ball and then jumped away from it before it squirted towards the end zone.
The replay looked terrible. While there are several possible explanations, the way Newton jumped back made it look to many that he was just afraid to get hurt.
After the game, former NFL player and current NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk could only say that the play was confusing.
“I am a little confused about why he did not dive for that fumble,” Faulk said.
Others tried to explain the play, including Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
“I think he was just waiting for it to pop out. Unfortunately it popped out further away from him,” Rivera said after the game.
Former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck said on ESPN Radio that the only explanation he could come up with is that either Newton avoided the play because that is how it is handled during practices or Newton just didn’t see the ball. Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien echoed that sentiment, questioning if Newton knew where the ball was.
Maybe the most plausible explanation is that Newton was going to try to pick up the ball and run and got spooked by the lineman jumping in.
While Newton’s actions on the play are perplexing, he was certainly not the only one to blame. While he did not dive for the ball, two of his linemen were just standing around and not even making an effort.
The actions of Mike Remmers (No. 74) are especially baffling.
It was Remmers who gets beat by Miller, allowing the hit that caused the fumble. Afterwards, as the ball is laying on the ground, he is just standing around. Even when he does finally go for the loose ball, he can be seen still shaking his head about getting beat just as the ball flies past him.
After the game, Newton didn’t shed much light on the play.
When asked what happened and if he was just trying to extend the play by picking the ball up, Newton only shook his head and said, “no.”
We may never know what happened on that fumble but we do know it was costly. The Broncos quickly added a touchdown and the game was over.
Now Cam Newton has all offseason to think about what happened in the Super Bowl. A lot of that time will likely be spent thinking about the fumble.
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