Local News

>>Carolina Blasts Arizona To Advance To Super Bowl

Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for two others leading the Carolina Panthers into the big game with a 49-15 rout of Arizona for the NFC championship.

Carolina's big-play defense stifled Arizona's top-ranked offense by picking off Carson Palmer four times, forcing two fumbles by him, and never let up the assault.

Special teams also had a takeaway, and when Carolina grabbed a 24-7 halftime lead this time, it didn't back off, as it did in nearly blowing a 31-point margin a week ago vs. Seattle.

When Newton flew into the end zone for a 12-yard third-quarter touchdown, he posed like a superhero, dabbed a bit, and pointed the Panthers toward the Bay Area.

Newton finished with 335 yards passing and 47 rushing as Carolina won its 13th straight home game, including three in the playoffs.

 width=One of his biggest helpers was Ted Ginn Jr., who was dumped by the Cardinals after last season. Ginn had a 32-yard punt return to set up his weaving 22-yard TD run, and chased down All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson to prevent a second-quarter touchdown. He also had 52 yards on two receptions.

Carolina's defense did the rest, most notably making Palmer uncomfortable in the pocket and turning Larry Fitzgerald, the star of last week's overtime victory against Green Bay, into a virtual non-entity. It led the league with 39 takeaways, and at times it made an Arizona team that gained more yards than anyone look amateurish.

The Cardinals put together a 79-yard scoring drive on which David Johnson starred after an ignominious start. He was plastered by All-Pro linebacker Thomas Davis for a 6-yard loss on the first play of the series, then came back to gain 25 yards, including a 1-yard TD dive.

Davis, who already had six tackles, left with a broken right forearm during that drive.

Jonathan Stewart ran for 17 and 23 yards

>>Broncos Hold On To Beat Brady, Pats

The strangest season of Peyton Manning's Hall of Fame-ready career will play itself out all the way to the last game. Manning and the Denver Broncos are heading to the Super Bowl, thanks to his efficient offense and a big-play defense that saved a 20-18 victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Manning's fourth trip to the Super Bowl wasn't wrapped up until cornerback Bradley Roby picked off Brady's pass on a 2-point attempt that would have tied it with 12 seconds left.

Brady hit a double-covered Rob Gronkowski in the back of the end zone on fourth down from the 4 to set up the potential tie. The Patriots had to go for 2 because Stephen Gostkowski pushed an extra point to the right in the first quarter - his first miss in 524 tries.

That left it to one play, and after the Broncos took a timeout to give DeMarcus Ware time to rest and get back in the game, Aqib Talib stepped in front of Brady's pass and deflected it skyward.

Roby, who forced the game-changing fumble in last week's victory over Pittsburgh, made the pick. The Broncos recovered the onside kick and the celebration began.

Von Miller finished with 2 1/2 sacks and an interception. The Broncos harassed Brady into a 27-for-56 day for 310 yards and two picks.

After giving it up twice on downs inside the Denver 20 late in the fourth quarter, Brady lobbed a 40-yard pass to a double-covered Gronkowski on fourth-and-10 to keep the late TD drive going.

But the Broncos barely held on, and the franchise is now headed to its eighth Super Bowl. The last trip was ugly - a 43-8 loss to Seattle two years ago.

His 17-for-32 performance Sunday was not Vintage Manning. But 17 completions were enough, and the two most important were touchdowns to Owen Daniels, the tight end who has played his whole career with Kubiak.

Gronkowski finished with eight catches for 144 yards and the big touchdown late.

Local Weather