Published: February 8th, 2011 | Tags: Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers, Antwaan Randle El, Clay Matthews III, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Hines Ward, Howard Green, Jordy Nelson, Pittsburgh Steelers, rashard mendenhall
That ringing in your ears is probably a result of the vacuum effect created by Super Bowl XLV. All of a sudden, no football. Unless you consider soon-to-be-pros running around in shorts and T-shirts at the NFL Scouting Combine football. For the rest of you, no football for a while.
This, of course, ignores everyone in the Green Bay “metro” area and the surrounding tundra hamlets. Keep doing what you’re doing. When you come-to next week, let us know.
In the meantime, there’s still plenty of time to continue to look back at what transpired on the field at Cowboys Stadium. The critiques at the expense of the BEPs and Christina Aguilera will be spared for whoever feels compelled to go there. I’m fine with leaving that for someone else.
But for those of you still not ready to walk away, or simply don’t remember all of what happened and need a refresher, this is for you. Because at some point when things start to fade, we’ll each be left with a few moments we remember most. After much deliberation, here’s a look at my key moments that determined Super Bowl XLV:
Hines Ward’s touchdown — Perfect pass, beautiful catch. Trailing 21-3, it was critical for the Steelers to get some momentum heading into halftime. With the Packers set to receive to open the second half, the Steelers could have been buried. Ward doesn’t scare defenses anymore, but he got himself uncovered from Jarrett Bush and made a great adjustment on the ball.
Howard Green forces INT— One of the many unsung heroes in a total team effort for the Packers. It was Green who bull-rushed Chris Kemoeatu and got a hand in Ben Roethlisberger’s face. Roethlisberger couldn’t step into the throw, resulting in a gimme for Nick Collins.
Jordy Nelson on third down — Nelson gets the Best Supporting Actor award with his key 38-yard reception on third down during the fourth quarter being the highlight. Nelson was targeted 15 times as part of the Packers plan to attack the Steelers’ cornerbacks, and was huge in replacing Donald Driver’s production during the second half. Nelson recognized the Steelers’ blitz to his side, and ran a great route, running off Ryan Clark. Remember, Nelson dropped a ball on the previous play. He hung on to this one.
The two-point conversion — Trailing 28-23, the Steelers had to go for two in this scenario. But I love this play call. A.J. Hawk and Frank Zombo bought the fake handoff, leaving only Collins to play the quarterback. Roethlisberger could have run it in himself, but elected to pitch to Antwaan Randel El. It worked to perfection — Sam Shields whiffed on the tackle — and brought the Steelers back within 3 points with 7:34 to go.
Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings, II — Rodgers’ throw on the first touchdown to Jennings was a thing of beauty, but he displayed an incredible amount of poise and ability on their second touchdown to extend the Packers lead to 28-17. Rogers first looks left and runs through all of his progressions before turning to the right side of the field. He didn’t panick, didn’t throw an interception. What he did do was make a flat-footed throw because he couldn’t step up due to a collapsing pocket. Impressive all the way around.
Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble — My most memorable moment. This play didn’t lose the game on its own merit, but it completely swung the momentum away from the Steelers, who were trailing 21-17 and in Packers’ territory to start the fourth quarter. Clay Matthews was involved, reminding us that big players make big plays at the most opportune times.
What was your most memorable moment of SB XLV, or the play that you think changed the game?