Denver Broncos prevail in Super Bowl rematch as Carolina Panthers again come up short
CJ Anderson runs in for a touchdown as the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers in the NFL season opener. AP

DENVER — Denver's dominant defense came up big against Cam Newton again and the Broncos escaped with a 21-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the NFL season-opening game on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) when Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.

Newton was sacked three times and clobbered all night long, but appeared to have done just enough to get a measure of revenge for the Panthers' loss to the Broncos seven months earlier in the Super Bowl.

Newton put the Panthers on the cusp of victory Thursday with a 21-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin at the Denver 32-yard line in the closing seconds, and another short pass to Ted Ginn Jr. put Gano well within his range.

But Gano was wide left, and Trevor Siemian trotted out to take a knee in victory formation after his first successful NFL start. Siemian, who has taken over as quarterback in Denver this season following Peyton Manning's retirement, finished 18 of 26 for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Newton, the NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player, was 18 of 33 for 194 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The Panthers took a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter of the first Super Bowl rematch to start a season since 1970, but Siemian hit running back C.J. Anderson for a 25-yard touchdown on the next snap.

Newton's next pass was intercepted by Harris at the Carolina 23, and 10 plays later, Anderson charged his way in from the 1-yard line to give Denver its first lead at 21-17 with 9:26 remaining.

After Gano's 36-yard field goal brought the Panthers to 21-20, Carolina forced a three-and-out and the Panthers got the ball back at their 40 with 3:06 remaining.

Just as he did over and over in the Super Bowl, though, Denver's Von Miller made a big play, sweeping past right tackle Mike Remmers and sacking Newton. That set up fourth-and-21 from the Carolina 29 at the 2-minute warning and Newton threw incomplete.

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The Panthers got another chance in the closing seconds, but after Gano's miss, they're now 0-1 to start the season after finishing 15-1 last year.

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