By: Sida Lu
Super Bowl XLV got off to a sloppy start as both teams made earlier mistakes. The Steelers went three and out while Packer Tramon Williams muffed a punt and almost turned the ball over.
Green Bay’s quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, came out of the gates with quick passes in an attempt to negate the Steeler’s formidable blitzing. Behind the running of rookie James Starks, Green Bay got into Steelers’ territory and Jordy Nelson caught a 29 yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to allow the Pack to draw first blood, 7-0.
Nick Collins picked off Ben Roethlisberger the very next possession and returned it to the house for six points. The Steelers, desperate for points, converted on a 33 yard field goal to finally get on the board.
A few plays later, Jared Bush would intercept Big Ben again and Greg Jennings made the Steelers pay with a 21 yard touchdown.
With their backs to the wall, the Steelers had to score before the half ended to remain in the game. They were down 21-3, and the largest first-half deficit any Super Bowl team overcame to win was 10. When Green Bay’s main secondary players Sam Shields and Charles Woodson left the field due to injury, Steelers star Hines Ward exploded for three straight catches late in the first half and gave Pittsburgh their first touchdown.
Pittsburgh entered the half down by 11, needing to make history to win this game but had momentum on their side.
In the second half, Pittsburgh’s running game smashed through the Pack’s defense, totaling fifty yards on the ground behind the efforts of Issac Redman and Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall busted into the endzone and finished the possession with a eight yard touchdown carry.
The Steelers’ formidable defense took over and forced Green Bay to go three and out after James Harrison sacked Aaron Rodgers on third down. The Steelers then tried to continue its successful running game but the Packers defense held firm and Frank Zombo sacked Roethlisberger to stop Pittsburgh at the 52 yard line. A badly missed FG later, Green Bay had the ball back in great field position.
Both offenses would go stagnant as the Steelers had possession going into the fourth quarter. Mendenhall started the fourth quarter off with a five yard loss and was stripped for the fumble as Green Bay took possession and marched down the field behind the efforts of Nelson and Jennings. Jennings scored his second TD of the game off of an eight yard catch to put Green Bay back up by 11, 28-17.
Yet the Steelers refused to go down, fighting behind Roethlisberger’s 6/7 passing drive, culminating in Mike Wallace’s 25 yard touchdown. Antwaan Randle El followed that up with a two-point conversion to help Pittsburgh close within three points, 25-28.
It was too little too late, however, as the Packers scored a field goal to go up 31-25 and their defense held on to preserve the victory and take back the Lombardi Trophy.
Super Bowl XLV Champions: Green Bay Packers
The Pittsburgh Steelers came out a step slow and quickly dug themselves a deep hole, going down 21-3 early. They were unable to take care of the ball and gave up three turnovers to the Packers, allowing the Packers to turn those into 21 points. Despite battling back in the second half, the Steelers were unable to become the first team to come back from an 11 point deficit at the half and win. Packers quarterback and Super Bowl XLV MVP Aaron Rodgers would throw for 304 yards, complete 24/39 throws, and pick apart Pittsburgh’s defense for three touchdowns.
This is the Packers fourth Super Bowl title and first in fourteen years. They were the sixth and lowest playoff seed in the NFC this year, and had to go through the third-seeded Philadelphia Eagles, first-seeded Atlanta Falcons, and second-seeded Chicago Bears to reach the Super Bowl. They were also the second youngest team in the league.
With the frantic last minute finish, furious second half rally, and a bid for history, there is no doubt that Super Bowl XLV will go down as a Super Bowl for the ages.