SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Statistically, defensive end Kony Ealy enjoyed a Super Bowl for the ages.
But because of the numbers of the scoreboard, Ealy couldn't enjoy it.
"It's really unfortunate," Ealy said. "It's unfortunate, but it's not the first time that has happened to a player."
In the Panthers' 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Ealy did something no player has ever done before. With three sacks and an interception, he became the first player to record multiple sacks and an interception in a Super Bowl.
The three sacks matched Hall of Famer Reggie White for the Packers 19 years ago and Darnell Dockett for the Cardinals seven years ago for the most in a Super Bowl. Ealy is the first player in any postseason game to record multiple sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in the same game since 1993.
"I feel like I've been doing this all year, whether I've been getting sacks or getting pressure or doing a good job on run defense," Ealy said. "Everybody has their peak. Everybody has their moment. We saw that all year this year with KK (Kawann Short), Dwan (Edwards), I could keep naming them. We balled as a defense, period."
The Panthers held Denver to 194 yards, but Carolina suffered through season highs in turnovers, sacks allowed and penalties. The Broncos' yardage total is the lowest ever for a Super Bowl champion but was really nothing new for Denver, which became the first Super Bowl winner to be outgained in every playoff game.
"They showed up. They played," Ealy said. "They didn't make mistakes. We did make mistakes."
While clearly and understandably disappointed, Ealy didn't sound deterred even in the moments after the loss.
"You just have to come back and fight next year," Ealy said. "It's a bump in the road. We've got to keep going. Obviously, there are going to be different people in and out next year. Some people are going to retire, some may get traded. That's just the business of the game.
"But at the end of the day, it never changes for the players with the type of character and the culture we have here. Coach (Ron) Rivera and the coaches have done a great job of establishing that, and our players will follow that."
"It's a process," Ealy added. "We will learn from this and get back."
View game action photos from Carolina's 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50.