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Titletown Gets Another Championship as the Packers Hold Off the Steelers

Posted on February 06, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Aaron Rodgers proved that the Super Bowl stage wasn't too much for him to handle.

It was billed as a classic matchup between two of the most storied franchises in the NFL and Super Bowl XLV did not disappoint. The Green Bay Packers started strong and then held on to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. The victory is the fourth Super Bowl win for the Packers and their 13th overall NFL title.

Early on it looked like the Packers might have an easy day at the office as they scored twice in a 24 second period in the first quarter and led 21-3 with less than a minute remaining in the first half.

However, the Pittsburgh Steelers have too much pride and experience to go quietly into the night and they drove down the field late in the first half and suddenly changed the momentum when Ben Roethlisberger hit Hines Ward for an eight yard touchdown with 39 seconds remaining before intermission.

The Steelers kept it going early in the second half as they scored less than five minutes into the second half to cut the margin to four points at 21-17.

It looked like Pittsburgh might take the lead as they were driving down the field before a hit by Clay Matthews knocked the ball from running back Rashard Mendenhall and was recovered by the Packers.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers then quickly took advantage as the Packers went 55 yards in just eight plays culminating with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Greg Jennings.

But Pittsburgh wasn’t done as Roethlisberger again marched Pittsburgh down the field and regained the momentum with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace. A successful two-point conversion made the score 28-25 with 7:34 remaining.

One of the knocks on Rodgers and the Packers that was repeated by analysts throughout the buildup to the Super Bowl was that they were not as good as the Roethlisberger and the Steelers in converting big third down plays.

Facing the biggest third down of his career from his own 25 yard line, Rodgers drilled a 31-yard pass to Jennings to keep the chains moving and the clock running.

The Packers eventually had to settle for a short field goal, but the 10 play drive ate nearly five and a half minutes of time and left Roethlisberger just two minutes to drive the length of the field.

The stage seemed set for perhaps the greatest drive in Super Bowl history as the Steelers trailed by six points and started from their own 13 yard line following a penalty on the kickoff.

Roethlisberger is no stranger to late drives to win a Super Bowl, but this time the Steelers really were never able to get started.

After a 15-yard completion on their first play and then a five-yard pass on the second, the Steelers looked a bit confused on their next two plays as a pair of Roethlisberger passes were incomplete.

Needing to convert a fourth-and-five to keep hopes alive, Roethlisberger’s pass was a bit high for Wallace and the receiver was unable to hold on.

Rodgers then got to finish the game from the victory formation as he once and for ever ended any discussions in Green Bay as to whether the Packers made the right decision when they traded Brett Favre after he kept changing his mind about retirement.

What was truly remarkable for the Packers was that the game was really a microcosm of their entire season.

Picked by many as the preseason Super Bowl favorites, the Packers had 15 key players go on injured reserve during the season.

In the Super Bowl, two of their key veterans, wide receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Charles Woodson suffered injuries in the first half that prematurely ended their games. The other starting cornerback, Sam Shields, missed much of the game with an injury, but did see some action in the second half.

Green Bay is among the youngest teams in the NFL and with so many players back from injury next season to go with the players who filled the holes in 2010 they could be ready for a long run of greatness.

It isn’t all that different from the last time the Packers won the Super Bowl in January of 1997. However, Green Bay lost the title the next season and then depending on your perspective either Favre’s gun slinging kept an average Packer team in contention or kept a very good Packer team from reaching their true potential over the next decade.

Rodgers has proven he is great and can play within a system. If the Packers are able to keep quality players around him on both offense and defense, they could be bringing back many more championships to Titletown.


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