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Aussie Gotsis in winning NFL start

AAP logoAAP 8/09/2016 By Peter Mitchell

Australian defensive end Adam Gotsis has had his first real taste of the NFL and it was a sweet one.

Gotsis' Denver Broncos came from behind to win their NFL regular season opener against the Carolina Panthers in a 21-20 thriller on Thursday (Friday AEST).

The Panthers had a chance to win it with nine seconds left, but kicker Graham Gano missed a 50-yard field goal.

The game at Denver's Mile High Stadium was a re-match of last season's Super Bowl, won by the Broncos with a dominant defensive effort.

Gotsis, a 193cm tall, 130kg rookie from the Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford, lived a dream lining up alongside the Broncos' Pro Bowl defensive stars DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.

With four minutes to go, the game on the line and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton leading the Panthers downfield, Gotsis and his team-mates put up a match-winning defensive stand.

They swarmed Newton and forced the Panthers to kick a 36-yard field goal instead of going for what would likely have been a match-winning touchdown.

With NFL great Peyton Manning retiring after the Super Bowl win, the big question mark hanging over the Broncos was whether unheralded second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian could score enough points to keep his team in the game.

Siemian had a solid outing, completing 18 of his 26 passes for 178 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

"He was poised and made the plays and throws when we needed and that's a guy you want to play for," running back CJ Anderson said.

The Broncos battered Newton, including three helmet-to-helmet hits.

Newton connected with 18 of 33 passes for 194 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

The Broncos trailed 17-7 at halftime, but shut the Panthers down in the second-half.

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