Sunday, February 6, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Packers 31, Steelers 25
By Kevin Seifert
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Hitting a few quick topics from Green Bay's 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV:
What it means: The Green Bay Packers won their fourth Super Bowl championship in five tries. It was their 13th world championship, dating back to 1929. Much as they did during the regular season, the Packers overcame a series of rapid-fire injuries to hold off a Pittsburgh Steelers team that roared back from a 21-3 second-quarter deficit.
RodgersWatch: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn't have the game of his life, but he did throw for 304 yard and three touchdowns. Most important, he was at his best on the Packers' final drive of the game. The Packers consumed 5 minutes and 19 seconds after the Steelers had pulled within 28-25, capping with a 23-yard field goal from Mason Crosby. Rodgers completed 5 of 6 passes on the drive, including a 31-yard strike to receiver Greg Jennings on third-and-10. I'm sure the Packers would have preferred a touchdown on that drive, but Rodgers more than did his part in a winning effort.
InjuryWatch I: The Packers lost two of their top three defensive backs on consecutive plays near the end of the second quarter, creating a situation that seemed reminiscent of their undermanned performance against the Steelers in 2009. In that game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 503 yards against a Packers defense that was forced to reach to the bottom of its depth chart. Sunday, nickel back Sam Shields injured his shoulder and cornerback Charles Woodson injured his collarbone. Although Shields returned briefly in the second half, the Packers played a significant chunk of the game with Pat Lee at cornerback and Jarrett Bush as their nickel back. The Packers were on the ropes for a while thereafter, giving up touchdowns on successive drives to allow the Steelers to move from a 21-3 deficit to 21-17.
InjuryWatch II: The Packers opened the game with an obvious intent to spread out the Steelers' defense with their four- and five-receivers set packages. It worked splendidly as the Packers took a 14-0 lead, but Donald Driver's ankle injury in the second quarter reduced the Packers' advantage considerably. Packers receivers unofficially dropped six passes as everyone but Jennings moved up a rung on the depth chart. Jennings caught two touchdown passes and Jordy Nelson caught one among his nine overall catches. But No. 5 receiver Brett Swain struggled when used as the No. 4 receiver.
What's next: An offseason of labor uncertainty for the entire NFL. Hope you enjoyed what you saw Sunday night. It's not clear when we'll see something like that again.