Dallas (CBS)—Somewhere you can almost image Vince Lombardi smiling. The old Green Bay Packers’ coach and namesake of the NFL championship trophy had to be, after watching the Packers take advantage of three Pittsburgh Steeler turnovers and convert them into 21 points en route to winning Super Bowl XLV, 31-25.
It marks the fourth Super Bowl championship in Green Bay history, now joining the great Lombardi teams of 1967 and 1968, which won the first two Super Bowls, and the Reggie White-led Packers that won the Super Bowl in 1997.
This season, the Packers were at one time 3-3 and lost their starting tailback and tight end. Still, they ended a remarkable run, winning every playoff game on the road and concluded its championship-winning season by winning six-straight games.
The other interesting fact is that the Packers trailed just once in the playoffs, 7-0, to the Atlanta Falcons, taking 14-0 leads against the Eagles in the wildcard round, against Chicago in the NFC championship and again in the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh.
Green Bay looked as if it had the game sealed, when Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings with his third touchdown pass of the game with 11:57 left to play. But Pittsburgh reacted by going 66 yards on seven plays, which resulted in a Ben Roethlisberger 25-yard TD pass to Mike Wallace with 7:40 to play. A two-point conversion brought the Steelers to within 28-25.
But the play of the game came on the next Packers’ series. With the ball sitting on the Green Bay 25, Rodgers hit Jennings with a 31-yard reception on a third down-and-10 play. Green Bay had to settle for a 23-yard Mason Crosby field goal, but it gave the Packers some wiggle room.
The Steelers had a chance with 1:59 to play at their own 13. But the drive stalled at the Pittsburgh 33-yard line, with three-straight Roethlisberger incompletions.
“We’ve been a team that’s overcome adversity all year; our team captain [Charles Woodson] goes down, one of our top receivers go down and we were able to overcome it all,” Jennings said. “This is unbelievable.”
It looked like a blowout early on, as the Packers got out to a 21-3 lead in the second quarter. Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson with a 29-yard TD pass on Green Bay’s second drive of the game, and the Packers’ Nick Collins zig-zagged his way with a 37-yard interception return for a 14-0 lead.
Rodgers was simply awesome. He thoroughly outplayed Roethlisberger, completing 24 for 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns—without an interception. Rodgers was awarded the MVP of the game.
“It was the great resolve of this team, we had players go down and other players step up, and it was an emotional halftime for our football team, and we had some bumps in the third quarter and Coach Lombardi’s trophy is finally coming home,” Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy said.
It was mistakes that cost the Steelers. Two Roethlisberger interceptions led to 14 points in the first half and a fumble by Rashard Mendenhall on the first play of the fourth quarter led to Rodgers hitting Jennings for what resulted in the game-winning score.
“We didn’t play well enough to win and Green Bay did,” Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin said. “There were a lot of errors that could have swung the balance in a lot of ways.”
Reported by: Joseph Santoliquito