Take your pick recap: Super Bowl turnover

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
12:00
PM ET
This week's "Take your pick" in the AFC North blog involved two of the biggest turnovers in Super Bowl XLV.

We asked which play hurt the Pittsburgh Steelers the most: Ben Roethlisberger's interception that was returned for a touchdown or Rashard Mendenhall's fourth-quarter fumble?

Here are responses from our AFC North inbox:

The Fumble!

JD from Mt. Lebanon, Pa., writes: I honestly believe that Rashard's fumble was way more pivotal in the outcome of the game. This is nothing against Mendenhall, because he had the ball in tight, but the hit was picture perfect to knock out the ball. That being said, we showed that we were able to fight back from Ben's two picks, and we had all of the momentum going into that drive.

Max R. from Cincinnati writes: The interception put the Steelers in a huge hole early, but throughout the game it felt like they were coming back to steal the lead. But when the fumble happened, that was pretty much the dagger when it came to momentum. All the wind in Pittsburgh's sails left and it was officially the Aaron Rodgers show from that point forward. I was rooting for the Packers so I was happy about this.

Michael from Washington, D.C., writes: The Mendenhall fumble was bigger. The Steelers had momentum, were establishing the run and were driving for a score at the start of the fourth quarter. That killed the momentum, and Green Bay drove for a touchdown and a commanding lead.

Scott from Utah writes: The Mendenhall fumble was the biggest turnover of the three. Steelers had all the momentum on their side starting the fourth quarter and the Packers were sputtering big time on offense. The fumble rejuvenated the Packers and sent them on their way.

Alan from Pittsburgh writes: Mendenhall's fumble was definitely more costly. One of Roethlisberger's interceptions came when he was hit as he was throwing and the defensive back made a great play on the other. I've always had issues with the way Mendenhall held the ball. We started that drive off in great field position for a chance to take the lead, but the ball went the other way thanks to Mendenhall's fumble.

The Interception!

Rich from Collegeville, Pa., writes: Although the Mendenhall fumble was a big shift in momentum, I still believe the key turnover was Nick Collins' interception of Big Ben. It directly resulted in points and put the Steelers in a big hole very quickly and put them in an insurmountable deficit.

Anthony from Princeton, N.J., writes: I gotta go with Ben's pick for sure. The pick six wasn't entirely his fault as he was hit on the play but the other INT he threw was forced into double coverage. Both of the INT's resulted in touchdowns which put my boys in an early deep hole. Mendenhall's fumble wouldn't have mattered that much if we weren't down because of Ben.

Brad from ATL writes: Mendenhall's turnover provided Pitt's defense an opportunity to stop Green Bay's offense. Ben actually handed over a touchdown. No comparison.

Bill from Washington, D.C., writes: Pick six. Mendenhall fumble was bad, but I'll give some credit to Clay Matthews for sniffing out the play and getting his helmet to the forearm. Rothlisberger's pick was almost a blind throw -- he didn't read the defense and never looked off the route, but simply pumped and threw. It was a horrible decision and even worse execution, given the pressure in his face.

Milan from Canton, Ohio, writes: Roethlisberger, and not a second thought about it. He touches the ball every play. He has the most responsibility in wins, he has the most responsibility in losses. That is just the dynamics of the game.

AFC North final say

James Walker: Roethlisberger's interception led directly to points, but I think the timing of both plays is important. A fourth-quarter turnover is always bigger than a first-quarter turnover. So Mendenhall's fumble was more important for the Steelers. Down four points, Pittsburgh could have potentially taken the lead if Mendenhall doesn't lose the ball. A fourth-quarter lead for the Steelers may have resulted in a different outcome. Instead, they fell behind by 11 and couldn’t get any closer.

If you have any future ideas for "Take your pick" in the AFC North, send them to our division inbox.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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AFC NORTH SCOREBOARD

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