It has been just about 24 since Aaron Rodgers took that final kneel down to clinch Super Bowl XLV, with a 31-25 win over the Pittsburgh steelers, bring the Lombardi Trophy back to ‘Titletown USA.’
In this game, as far as I’m concerned, Aaron Rodgers was launched into the ‘Elite Quarterback Status.’ His play on Super Sunday was impeccable. He is the third quarterback in Super Bowl history with over 300 yards passing, three touchdowns, and no, count ’em, no interceptions.
Granted, his completion percentage was lower than his season average, but with the multiple drops by his receivers (I counted 6), he could have had over 400 yards passing, and possibly another touchdown, which James Jones dropped at midfield, with no one in front of him.
even though his receivers kept dropping balls, Rodgers still had confidence in them, and threw their way again, to get the WR confidence back up. He played the field general. An now, with the hardware, he can be put into the ‘Elite Quarterback Status’ with the likes of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees.
Another key for the Packers was, in fact, their running game. All season, they were a ‘pass first, run second’ offense. But James Starks, an unknown running back came up big.
If you look at the box score, it may no impress you. As a whole, the Packers rushed the ball 13 times for 50 yards. But that stat is very misleading. Those rushing yards came at crucial time, usually helping the offense out of a bind. Those were the biggest 50 yards of the game.
The Packer defense, which was top-five in the league, struggled, but was not their fault. Charles Woodson, their veteran cornerstone of the defense, went out with a broken collarbone close to the end of the first half. The secondary started to falter during the second half, but were able to hold the Steelers on fourth-down, with under two minutes to play.
On the other side of the ball, what killed the Steelers were turnovers. ‘Big’ Ben Roethlisberger had two interceptions, including a pick-six in the first quarter. Rashard Mendenhall coughed the ball up at the beginning of the fourth quarter, which basically sealed the game for the Green bay Packers.
In total, it was the Packers who won the game. They were the better team, kept control of the ball, and capitalized on mistakes. They were, the best team in the NFL this season.
Their 10-6 record was deceiving. There were a couple close games that could have swung either way. The two weeks they played the Lions and Patriots was the ‘hiccup-time’ for the Packers. Rodgers was knocked out with a concussion, and rookie Matt Flynn had to take on the Patriots. Both games were close, and if Flynn had just one more play, we could be talking about a 11-5 team, competing for the NFC.
But a wild-card spot didn’t bother the Packers. With the #6-seed seed in the playoffs, they brought their game every day, and showed that they were better than a #6-seed. They took care of business., with 15 players on IR.
Just to let you know how good the Packers were, here’s a fun fact. They are the third team in NFL history to not trail by more than seven points in an entire season. That is 20 games. That is 1,200 minutes of football.
Looking into next season, the Packers have to be the early favorites. They will be getting Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finnely, and a lot of other star players they didn’t have during their run this season. They look to be more deadly next year, than how they ended this year.
Scared? I am.