The Carolina Panthers didn’t have many bright spots during their Super Bowl 50 loss to the Broncos, but defensive end Kony Ealy had an MVP-like performance.
The second-year pro became the first player in Super Bowl history to have an interception and multiple sacks. He’s also the first since 1993 to record multiple sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in a postseason game.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s not the first time that has happened to a player,” Ealy said. “It’s really unfortunate. At the end of the day, it was what we did, it wasn’t what they did.”
Ealy's big night started in the second quarter after the Broncos had marched inside the Panthers’ 30-yard line. After dropping back in coverage, he turned and used one hand to corral a pass from quarterback Peyton Manning.
"I got to my spot, and I turned around and the ball was right there," Ealy said. "It was just like slow motion."
Ealy forced another turnover early in the fourth quarter when he knocked the ball away from Manning and then recovered the fumble.
Ealy's final line: four tackles, three sacks, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Not bad for a guy making his Super Bowl debut. Unfortunately for Ealy and Carolina, his effort wasn't enough.
“You just have to come back and fight next year. I can’t sit and dwell. It sucks, but at the end of the day, I can’t dwell on it. The better team won," he said. "They showed up, they played. They didn’t make mistakes. We did make mistakes. We can’t do that. Obviously, it results in a loss."