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The Best Individual Performances in Super Bowl History: 30-21

Posted on February 02, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Santonio Holmes capped off an MVP performance with a game-winning grab in Super Bowl XLIII.

This is Part 3 of the 50 Greatest Individual Performances in Super Bowl History.

In today’s section, we take a look at performances 30 through 21:

30. Troy Aikman-Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys, XXVII

Aikman had the fourth highest-rated quarterback performance in Super Bowl history, a 140.7 rating, as he completed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and threw four touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 52-17 blowout of the Buffalo Bills.

Aikman also rushed for 28 yards, more than Bills running back Thurman Thomas who ran for only 19 yards.

29. Jack Lambert-Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers, XIV
The most memorable in Lambert’s Super Bowl career occurred in Super Bowl X when he threw Cowboys safety Cliff Harris after Harris taunted Steelers kicker Roy Gerela for missing a field goal.

However, his best performance came in Super Bowl XIV when Lambert made 14 tackles, 10 of them solo, and made an interception when the Los Angeles Rams were at the Pittsburgh 32-yard-line, to preserve a 24-19 lead which the Steelers increased following the interception to come away with a 31-19 win.

Lambert had 14 tackles in that Super Bowl X, but what makes this performance greater is fellow linebacker Jack Ham was injured and did not play against the Rams.

28. Kurt Warner-Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals, XLIII

Warner has the three highest passing totals in Super Bowl history, with his effort in Super Bowl XLIII for the Arizona Cardinals being the second highest as he threw for 377 yards on 31 of 43 passes and threw three touchdowns on the league’s best defense in 2008.

Down 20-7 in the fourth quarter, Warner completed 13 of 17 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns as the Cardinals took a 23-20 lead with 2:47 to go when Warner found Larry Fitzgerald for a 64-yard touchdown.

However, the Cardinals gave up a touchdown and Warner fumbled the ball on their last offensive possession as Arizona fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-23.

The Jets won Super Bowl III because Joe Namath handed the ball to Matt Snell 30 times.

27. Matt Snell-Running Back, New York Jets, III
Even though quarterback Joe Namath won the MVP and got most of the glory for the Jets’ historic 16-7 upset over the Baltimore Colts, but the straw that really stirred the drink for New York was running back Snell.

Snell carried the ball 30 times for 121 yards and ran for the Jets’ only touchdown, a 4-yard run that gave New York a 7-0 lead, and also caught four passes for 40 yards.

In all, Snell touched the ball on 34 of the Jets’ 74 offensive plays and totaled 161 yards, nearly half of New York’s 337 yards of total offense.

26. Manny Fernandez-Defensive Tackle, Miami Dolphins, VII

Although Dolphins safety Jake Scott won the MVP award for his two interceptions returned for 63 yards, many feel that Fernandez should have won the award.

The nose tackle in the Dolphins 3-4 defense dominated the line of scrimmage as he made 17 tackles and one quarterback sack as Miami completed their perfect 1972 season by defeating the Washington Redskins 14-7.

25. Max McGee-Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers, I
On the second play of the game, Packers wide receiver Boyd Dowler injured his right shoulder while trying to make a block.

His replacement was McGee, a 34-year-old receiver who had only caught four passes in the regular season.

All McGee did was catch seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including the first touchdown in Super Bowl history, a 37-yard reception from quarterback Bart Starr and then a 13-yard catch in the third quarter to end a drive in which he caught three passes for 40 yards.

McGee added a 37-yard catch which lead to the Packers’ final touchdown in the fourth quarter as Green Bay dispatched the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 for the first Super Bowl championship.

24. Jerry Rice-Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers, XXIV
One year after his MVP performance, Rice had another outstanding performance as he caught seven passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns as the 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos 55-10 in the most lopsided game in Super Bowl history.

Rice averaged 21.1 yards per catch as five of his catches and all three touchdowns were at least 20 yards (20, 38, 28).

23. James Washington-Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys, XXVIII

If The Super Bowl had award awards to best offensive and best defensive player in each game, Cowboys defensive back James Washington would have won the defensive MVP award for Dallas’ win in Super Bowl XXVIII.

Playing in the starting lineup because of the Bills’ three wide receiver, single-back formation, Washington played the game of his life as he made 11 tackles, forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow defensive back Darren Woodson that lead to a Dallas field goal, and intercepted a Jim Kelly pass that set up a one-yard touchdown run by Emmitt Smith.

But Washington’s biggest play came on the third play of the second half when he recovered Thurman Thomas’ fumble and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown that changed the momentum of the game and helped the Cowboys pull out a 30-13 win over the Bills.

Emmitt Smith rushed for 132 yards in Super Bowl XXVIII.

22. Emmitt Smith-Running Back, Dallas Cowboys, XXVIII
The offensive MVP award in Super Bowl XXVIII would have been Emmitt Smith, who actually did won the MVP award, as he rushed for 132 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns in the 30-13 win for Dallas.

After Washington’s return for a touchdown tied the game at 13-13, Smith carried the ball seven times for 61 yards on the Cowboys’ 8-play, 64-yard drive that ended when Smith took it into the end zone from 15 yards out.

Smith added a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as he ran the ball 20 times for 91 yards in the second half to lead the Cowboys to their second straight Super Bowl win over the Buffalo Bills.

21. Santonio Holmes-Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers, XLIII

Holmes became the third Steeler receiver to win the MVP award as he made nine catches for 131 yards and caught the game-winning touchdown in the Pittsburgh’s 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

After the Cardinals took a 27-23 lead with 2:47, the Steelers took over at their own 22-yard-line, but a penalty took them back to their 12-yard-line where they faced a 1st-and-20.

That is where Holmes stepped up as he made a 14-yard catch on that first down, followed by a 13-yard catch on third down, and then he made a 40-yard catch-and-run that put the Steelers at the Cardinals’ six-yard-line where two plays later, Holmes made a finger-tip catch in the right corner of the end zone for a six-yard touchdown with 35 seconds to go.

In all, Holmes caught four passes for 73 yards on the game-winning drive to lead the Steelers to their sixth Super Bowl title.


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