The Denver Broncos got the best of the Carolina Panthers again on Thursday night in a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl.
The Panthers led for most of the game and had a chance to hit the go-ahead field goal with seconds left but failed to retake the lead.
Carolina got on the board first thanks to Kelvin Benjamin’s first career touchdown. Benjamin was a first-round pick in 2015 but missed all of last season with a leg injury. Denver tied things up with a 28-yard rushing touchdown from Andy Janovich.
But a Cam Newton touchdown and a Graham Gano field goal gave the Panthers a 17-7 lead heading into halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, C.J. Anderson scored two touchdowns in the final quarter to give Denver a 21-17 lead. Gano hit another field goal to pull Carolina within one and the Panthers defense forced a Denver three and out.
With less than two minutes left and the Panthers facing a 4th and 22, Newton’s pass fell incomplete but Denver was charged with an illegal hands penalty that gave Carolina a first down.
With new life after the penalty, Newton connected with Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr. to put Carolina in range for a 50-yard field goal but Gano’s kick went wide left, giving the Broncos the win.