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.

Ending the NFC's 13-year reign of supremacy, the Denver Broncos played like a physical NFC team in upsetting the Green Bay Packers, 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII.

Terrell Davis played 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 threw an interception, fumbled and didn't make the big play when he needed to.

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

He 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.

But the difference this time was that he 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 Bowlen the trophy. Davis 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 past two years.

He got the ball back with 1: 39 left in the game, needing a touchdown to force the first overtime in Super Bowl history. But 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 to 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 at 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 to his right 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. It's not easy to catch his bullets, but if Freeman could have caught it, the Packers might have gotten the tie. 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.

Elway file: It was always expected that Elway would have to carry the team if the Broncos ever won the Super Bowl. Instead, the Broncos carried Elway as he got the ring despite a 123-yard passing effort.

Stuffed: 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.

Turnovers: With 1: 03 left in the second period of Super Bowl XXVIII, Nate Odomes of Buffalo intercepted a pass by Dallas' Troy Aikman. The NFC then went 14 straight quarters -- the second half of Super Bowl XXVIII and the next three Super Bowls -- without a turnover until Tyrone Braxton intercepted a Favre pass with 4: 49 left in the second period. It shouldn't have counted because Denver defensive back Ray Crockett got away with interference on the play. But the Broncos got two more that weren't tainted.

Mistake: Denver wide receiver Ed McCaffrey lined up off the line of scrimmage on a third down play in the second period, wiping out a Derek Loville first-down run. That made it third-and-six and the Broncos didn't make it and were forced to punt.

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 of the game. Instead, the Packers went 95 yards for a touchdown.

Good call: On a third-and-four play at the Denver 15 with 1: 09 left in the first half, the Broncos blitzed, looking for the pass. Instead, Levens went 4 yards for a first down to keep a touchdown drive alive.

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

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