Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers bring SB XLV and the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Title town. The final chapter in the Brett Favre era has officially closed, as Rodgers takes his place as Title towns’ new golden boy.
Leading into the big game, Rodgers had been playing lights out, but in the Super Bowl, against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense, many including the Packers hoped for this outcome, but I don’t think many including myself expected this outcome. The Packers made plays when it counted and took full advantage of 3 turnovers that the Steelers offered up, turning all 3 into 21 points.
In the midst of injuries like most of the season, the Packers claimed their first championship since their Super Bowl victory in 1997. Team leaders Charles Woodson went down with a shoulder injury, then offensive chain mover Donald Driver exited with an ankle injury right before half time.
Both of their replacements contributed big. Jarret Bush’s solid play and momentum changing interception along with the play of Jordy Nelson with 9 receptions for 140 yds and an early TD for the game’s first score was the difference.
The tale of this Super Bowl has to be the turnovers, but let’s give credit to Aaron Rodgers and the Packer offensive line. Although they yielded 3 sacks, the O-Line did an amazing job of protecting Rodgers and picked up the Steelers blitz, rendering outside linebackers Harrison and Woodley useless.
The error on the part of the Steelers was giving a QB like Rodgers pre-snap reads as to what they were doing. Even when the Steelers tried to disguise their blitzes, by formation the Steelers were forced to show their hands earlier than they wanted to.
This put the Steelers secondary at a disadvantage because Rodgers knew where he wanted to go with the ball before he put his hands under center. William Gay became the weak link after an injury to Bryant McFadden force him into every down action and Rodgers went after him with regularity.
As great a season as the Steelers had, this game exposed their weakness, its secondary. One wouldn’t believe that to be true, but the Steelers are so good at getting QB pressure, this weakness was masked all season. Without the normal pressure by Harrison, Woodley and Polamalu the corners and other safeties had to cover much longer than they were use to, and that was their undoing.
The Steelers never seemed to get into offensive rhythm, with the early Int by Nick Collins returned for a TD, the Int by Bush, and then the fumble by Mendenhall the momentum shifted firmly in the Packers favor. The game plan by the Steelers implemented tight formations to ensure protection by Ward and Miller actually helped the Packers crowd the line of scrimmage and bottle up the Steelers Wide outs.
Conversely the Packers spread the Steelers defense out and force them to cover the whole field. Mendenhall had a solid performance going, but being down the whole game forced the Steelers to throw more than they probably wanted to and his fumble was a back breaker, he never touched the ball again, trust had been lost and that put the ball in Big Ben’s hands the rest of the way.
Although the Steelers put up a valiant effort fighting to the end, Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews and the rest of the Packer team was too much for them to overcome. Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers 2011 Super Bowl Champions.