Carolina Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy had a big day at the Super Bowl in a losing effort.
The Carolina Panthers were unable to beat the Denver Broncos in the fiftieth version of the Super Bowl. The Panthers effort was marred by turnovers and the inability to ever settle into their base game plan as they got behind. The Panthers defense played a heck of a game, and no one was more visible in that effort than Kony Ealy.
The second year defensive end was all over the turnovers that the Panthers created. His first appearance in the highlight reel was the Panthers’ second challenge. Peyton Manning appeared to go down, but it was unclear whether Ealy had touched him. Replay showed Ealy got his towel and that was his first sack.
Von Miller of the Broncos got the MVP nod for his two strip sacks of Cam Newton, but Ealy had a sack fumble of his own. Those two fumbles got Ealy to three sacks for the game. That would be a feat that would have made his own case for the MVP if the Panthers had been victorious instead of the Broncos.
Yet Ealy was not done. In between sacks, Ealy dropped into coverage and proceeded to step in front of Emmanuel Sanders on a short route. That resulted in the only interception for the Panthers. That gave Ealy three sacks and interception. He also had seven tackles in the game.
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This sets up Ealy to be a breakout player next year. This will be important as the Panthers decide what to do with Jared Allen and the defensive line. Right now the insurance policy for Greg Hardy is turning into quite the player in his own right.
The Panthers are set up pretty well to return to big time competition next year. Josh Norman is the major free agent on the roster though there are others as well. If they bring him back or replace him capably, they do get a shot at the Broncos next year since there is lots of Broncos trash talk out there to sort through.
Will have more Super Bowl 50 aftermath throughout the week.