DENVER (CBS4) – The Broncos defense didn’t turn in a dominant performance like they did against the Carolina Panthers earlier this year in Super Bowl 50, but with their tough effort combined with a little luck Denver walked away with a win on Thursday.

Panthers kicker Graham Gano’s 50 yard field goal attempt with 9 seconds left went wide, and Denver escaped with a 21-20 victory in the season opener.

The Super Bowl 50 rematch lived up to its billing, with two aggressive teams battling it out until the final seconds. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was roughed up several times by Broncos defenders, including two sacks by linebacker DeMarcus Ware. But he kept bouncing back, and in the final minutes he led his team into field goal range trailing by only a point.

That’s when things fell in the Broncos favor.

The whistles blew right before Gano lined up and made the 50 yard kick. The Broncos had called a timeout in an attempt to ice the kicker.

Then, as he lined up again, the second kick flew to the left of the post.

Trevor Siemian (credit: Evan Semón/CBS)

Trevor Siemian (credit: Evan Semón/CBS)

In his first start in the league, Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian kept mostly cool under pressure at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and threw 18 completions on 26 attempts for 178 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Broncos running back C.J. Anderson had 20 rushes in the game for 92 yards and a receiving touchdown.