Tolbert's long gain
The setup: Panthers with a first-and-10 from the Denver 49, 8:48 remaining in first quarter.
What happened: Cam Newton faked a handoff to DeAngelo Williams and threw a screen pass to fullback Mike Tolbert, who followed his blocks for 26 yards the Panthers' second consecutive 26-yard gain.
Why it mattered: Three plays after Tolbert's reception, Newton found tight end Greg Olsen on a throwback pass for a 4-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
The setup: Panthers faced a third-and-4 at their 26, 47 seconds remaining in first quarter.
What happened: DE Elvis Dumervil beat right tackle Byron Bell and knocked ball away from Newton. Newton recovered, but the play lost 9 yards to the 17.
Why it mattered: On the next play, Trindon Holliday fielded Brad Nortman's 59-yard punt, made Colin Jones miss, and ran 76 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown that gave Denver a 14-7 lead.
The setup: Panthers took over at their 11 following a Denver touchdown, 9:52 remaining in the third quarter.
What happened: Newton threw a short screen pass to Stewart, who broke a couple of tackles and ran for about 60 yards. But the play was wiped out by a holding penalty on left tackle Jordan Gross.
Why it mattered: Instead of moving into Broncos' territory, the Panthers were backed up inside their 10. A horse-collar tackle on the Broncos helped Carolina dig out of the hole, but the Panthers never sniffed midfield on the drive.
Miller's takedown of Newton
The setup: Panthers faced a third-and-2 from their 30, 3:28 remaining in the third quarter.
What happened: Newton took the shotgun snap, and barely took a step before LB Von Miller smothered him for a 4-yard loss. Miller split Olsen and Bell to blow up the play.
Why it mattered: It denied the Panthers a chance to pick up a first down and served as a microcosm of their offensive struggles all day.
The setup: Panthers' ball, third-and-19 from their 2, 10:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.
What happened: A play after getting sacked, Newton dropped back to pass from his end zone and was sacked again. Strong safety Mike Adams took Newton down for a safety.
Why it mattered: Adams' sack was the Broncos' seventh, the most allowed by the Panthers under Ron Rivera. It gave Denver a 29-7 lead and sent most of the fans toward the exits.