Well, Northeast Ohioans, we can all breathe again. Thankfully, a man who once backed up arguably the best quarterback of all time, has beaten the ever-so-loathed Steelers and saved us from months of agony and torture from Steeler fans.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy is returning to its original home as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, 31-25. On a night full of surprises, including the questionably good, or bad, halftime performance, the Packers turned a plus-three turnover margin into their first Super Bowl win since 1997.
Aaron Rodgers, who lived in the shadows of Brett Favre for years before becoming the man in Green Bay, was named the Most Valuable Player of the game after his flawless performance. As I said last week, this game would come down to the play of the quarterbacks. Fortunately for Green Bay fans, Rodgers won that battle easily. Not only was Rodgers flawless, he broke the record for most passing touchdowns in a single postseason. He finished the game 24-of-39 for 304 yards and three touchdowns.
On the other side of the quarterback spectrum, Ben Roethlisberger was poor. While Roethlisberger did have two big touchdown passes, he threw interceptions that may have been even bigger. The second was returned for a touchdown by Green Bay’s Nick Collins, which gave Green Bay 14 points in just 24 seconds. Roethlisberger walked off the field with a 77.4 passer rating, going 25-of-40 with two touchdowns and two interceptions totaling 263 yards.
The game was much like the Steelers’ AFC Championship game against the New York Jets. This time, though, the Steelers came up on the short end. One team jumped out to an big early lead, but it was wiped away quickly and at the end of the game the losing team was only one score away. Green Bay led 21-3 on Sunday, before Pittsburgh finished the game on a 22-10 run. The Steelers had the ball with less than a minute left, but the Green Bay defense, already without Nick Barnett for the season and after losing one of its veteran defenders in Charles Woodson during the game, was able to hold up and hang on for the “W”. After “Big Ben’s” final pass fell incomplete, Green Bay Head Coach Mike McCarthy was showered with Gatorade and the Packer faithful could breathe again.