Davis helps Broncos get physical win SUPER BOWL XXXII

From The Sidelines

January 26, 1998|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO -- The AFC finally beat the NFC at its own game in the Super Bowl last night.

It was easy to think the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers changed uniforms the way the teams played. The Broncos played like a physical NFC team in upsetting the Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII.

Terrell Davis starred in the role of Emmitt Smith or Roger Craig as he thundered for 157 yards and three touchdowns.

The Packers, meanwhile, looked like one of those losing AFC teams as they turned the ball over three times. Brett Favre did an imitation of such AFC quarterback losers as Jim Kelly and John Elway, throwing an interception, fumbling once and failing to make the big play when he needed to.

Elway, the sentimental favorite, finally got his Super Bowl ring this time, but he turned in his typical lackluster Super Bowl effort. After passing for just 108 yards in the 55-10 loss to San Francisco years years ago, he threw for only 123 this time.

Elway had a chance to break the game wide open late in the third period when Antonio Freeman fumbled a kickoff on the Packers' 22, but Elway threw an interception in the end zone on the next play.

The difference this time was that Elway had Davis to carry the ball. Davis came out in the second period with a migraine headache, but came back to get 97 yards in the second half.

The crowd roared after the game when owner Pat Bowlen said, "This one's for John," but it was Davis who won MVP honors and got Elway the trophy. He shredded the Packers' defense behind a Denver line that wore down the Packers' defensive line.

In the end, though, Favre didn't make the plays he's been making the last two years. He had trouble dealing with the Denver blitz and made too many bad throws. Favre doesn't like (( his reputation of being a player who makes big plays and big mistakes, but he made the mistakes this time.

He also was 0-for-7 on third downs in the second half and couldn't get the touchdown he needed to force the first overtime in Super Bowl history after he got the ball back with 1: 39 left in the game on the Packers' 30. He couldn't get any closer than the Denver 32, although it didn't help that Freeman made a critical drop.

But the one thing the Packers did accomplish was put on a good show. It was an exciting game and that's the exception, not the rule, in Super Bowl history.

Highlights and lowlights of one of the best Super Bowls:

Turning point: With the score tied 24-24, the Packers had a

second-and-three on their 18 with five minutes left. Instead of running for a first down to get field position, the Packers went to the air only to have Ross Verba get a holding penalty. After a 6-yard pass and a false start, the Packers were in a third-and-11 situation. Favre scrambled to his left and had Freeman open for a first down. But he rushed the throw past Freeman. The Packers had to punt and Denver got the ball on the Green Bay 49, good field position for the winning drive.

Drop: On second-and-six at the Denver 32, Favre rifled a bullet to Freeman downfield with 42 seconds left. It's not easy to catch Favre's bullets, but if Freeman could have caught it, the Packers might have forced an overtime. Favre's last two passes weren't close to being completed.

Ground game: The Broncos had a 179-95 edge in the running game and that's usually enough to win. Davis out-rushed Dorsey Levens, 157-90.

Rally: After the Packers scored a touchdown on their first drive, the Broncos came back to score 17 straight points with the help of a pair of turnovers to jump into the lead and set the tempo.

Stuffed: After falling behind 17-7, the Packers had a third-and-one at their 31 with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter when nose tackle Keith Traylor stopped Levens, forcing the first punt of the game.

Good touch: Punter Tom Rouen dropped a punt on the Green Bay 5 with 7: 38 left in the second period. With the Broncos holding a 17-7 lead, it was a chance for the Denver defense to take control. Instead, the Packers went 95 yards for a touchdown.

Stalled: After driving 76 yards for a touchdown on their first drive, the Packers gained just 18 yards on their next three drives and had a pair of turnovers. The Packers then put together a 95-yard touchdown drive on their final first half drive.

Lost opportunity: When Davis fumbled on the first play of the second half, the Packers recovered on the Broncos' 26 and had a chance to jump into the lead. But Denver forced the Packers to take a field goal to tie the game 17-17. The Packers even had two chances because they took Ryan Longwell's first field goal off the board after Alfred Williams was offside. That gave the Packers a first down on the Broncos' 15, but the Broncos stopped them a second time and they had to settle for the field goal again.

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