Broncos, Panthers to battle in Super Bowl 50

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The big game's 50th edition is set. 

Four teams went down to two as Championship Sunday commenced with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers emerging victorious.

The AFC Championship in Denver was a bowl game all its own: Manning-Brady XVII. Peyton Manning was the star on this day, completing 17 of 32 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Both touchdown passes were caught by Owen Daniels

Tom Brady struggled despite putting up strong numbers, going 27-for-56 for 310 yards, but with one touchdown and two interceptions. Rob Gronkowski finished with 144 yards on eight catches with one touchdown.

In what was a defensive showdown, featuring 580 total yards between the two teams, the Patriots nearly rallied back to tie the game in the final minute. That was when Brady connected with Gronkowski for a four-yard touchdown. A Stephen Gostkowski miss on an extra point in the first quarter left the Patriots needing a successful two-point conversion to tie. The two-point conversion failed and sealed Denver's 20-18 win.

Back on the East coast, it was the Cam Newton show in Carolina.

The Panthers took it to the Arizona Cardinals for a 49-15 win in the NFC Championship behind a phenomenal performance from Newton. The 49 points were the most ever in the Super Bowl era in an NFC Championship game.

Newton finished 19-for-28 for 335 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, and added 47 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Greg Olsen and Corey "Philly" Brown each had 113 receiving yards. Brown had an 86-yard touchdown reception. 

Carolina finished with 460 yards of total offense while the Panthers defense added seven turnovers, complete with Luke Kuechly's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown, and held Arizona to 246 total yards. 

Carson Palmer finished 23-for-40 for 235 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Larry Fitzgerald was held to just 30 yards on four catches. David Johnson rushed for 60 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown.

The Broncos make their first trip to the Super Bowl since Super Bowl XLVIII when they lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8. The Broncos last won a Super Bowl in 1998 in Super Bowl XXXIII, defeating the Atlanta Falcons, 34-19. The Broncos also won Super Bowl XXXII, their only other Super Bowl win in franchise history.

The Panthers make just their second Super Bowl appearance ever. They lost Super Bowl XXXVIII to the New England Patriots, 32-29, in their only other appearance in 2003.

Super Bowl 50 takes place at Levi's Stadium in San Francisco and will take place in two weeks on Feb. 7 with kickoff coming at 6:30 p.m. on CBS.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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