Final

Steelers 25

(12-4, 7-1 away)

Packers 31

(10-6, 7-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

6:29 PM ET, February 6, 2011

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 0 10 7 825
GB 14 7 0 1031

Top Performers

Passing: A. Rodgers (GB) - 304 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 14 CAR, 63 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Nelson (GB) - 9 REC, 140 YDS, 1 TD

Aaron Rodgers tosses 3 TD passes as Packers drop Steelers to win Super Bowl XLV

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Aaron Rodgers at long last casts his own shadow.

All it took was a Super Bowl victory for the Green Bay Packers.

Capping one of the greatest postseasons for any quarterback, Rodgers led the Pack to their first NFL championship in 14 years Sunday, 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. They reclaimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for their legendary coach who won the first two Super Bowls and is making his own star turn in New York in the play named after him.

Rodgers, the game's MVP, thrilled his legion of Cheesehead fans with a spectacular six-game string that should finally erase the bitterness of the Brett Favre separation in Green Bay. After sitting for three long years before Favre left in 2008, Rodgers is now equal with Favre in Super Bowl wins, and he extended the Packers' record of NFL titles to 13, nine before the Super Bowl era.

"You can stop it now," veteran receiver Donald Driver said. "Aaron's proved that he's one of the best, if not the best, quarterback in this game today."

You could say it means this: Forget Lombardi on Broadway, Green Bay has the newest Super Bowl hit.

The favored Packers managed to overcome key injuries, building a 21-3 lead, then hung on to become only the second No. 6 seed to win the championship. Coincidentally, the 2005 Steelers were the other.

"Wow! It's a great day to be great, baby," said Greg Jennings, who caught two of Rodgers' three touchdown passes.

Rodgers threw for 304 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson, who had nine catches for 140 yards to make up for three big drops. Rodgers found Jennings, normally his favorite target, for 21- and 8-yard scores.

"We've been a team that's overcome adversity all year," Jennings said, who noted injuries to Charles Woodson and Driver. "Our head captain goes down, emotional in the locker room. Our No. 1 receiver goes down, more emotions are going, flying in the locker room. But we find a way to bottle it up and exert it all out here on the field."

Woodson was in so much pain from a broken left collarbone that he could barely address the team at halftime in the locker room.

Few teams have been as resourceful as these Packers, who couldn't wait to touch the trophy honoring their greatest coach -- and their title. Several of them kissed it as Cowboys great Roger Staubach, walked through a line of green and gold, and up to the massive stage on the 50-yard line with the silver prize that is headed back to the NFL's smallest city.

"That is where it belongs," linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "As long as the Packers have lived, it's going to be great to bring that back."

Rodgers took the Packers to two late-season victories just to make the playoffs as a wild card. Then he guided them to wins at Philadelphia, Atlanta and archrival Chicago before his biggest achievement -- against a Pittsburgh team ranked second in defense.

They barely survived a sensational rally by the Steelers, who still own the most Super Bowl rings -- six in eight tries. But Pittsburgh failed to get its third championship in six years, despite several valiant efforts by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger's season began with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. It ended with Roethlisberger standing on the sideline, his head down, hands on his hips, feeling something he never experienced: defeat in a Super Bowl.

"I feel like I let the city of Pittsburgh down, the fans, my coaches and my teammates and it's not a good feeling," said Roethlisberger, who later buried his head in a towel and wept.

Not even a decidedly black-and-gold crowd, with Terrible Towels swirling throughout the $1.2 billion stadium, could make a difference for the mistake-prone Steelers, who had three turnovers to none for Green Bay. Their two biggest defensive stars -- Defensive Player of the Year safety Troy Polamalu and outside linebacker James Harrison -- were virtually invisible. The offense didn't seem to miss outstanding rookie center Maurkice Pouncey, who was out with an ankle injury, but Roethlisberger only occasionally made key plays until the second half.

The biggest plays were left to Rodgers, Nick Collins with a 37-yard interception return for a TD, Jennings, Nelson, and the rest of the guys in green and gold. In the end, they gave coach Mike McCarthy his first Super Bowl victory against the team he rooted for while growing up in Pittsburgh. Besides Lombardi, Mike Holmgren won a title in 1997 with Favre.

McCarthy was so certain of victory he fitted the players for championship rings on Saturday night -- a move sure to go down in Super Bowl lore.

"That was just a vote of confidence for us," Woodson said. "Get fitted for your ring. I don't know when we'll get them, but it'll fit."

Woodson saw the Steelers, who rallied from a 21-7 halftime hole against Baltimore three weeks ago, show the same resilience. A 37-yard catch and run by Antwaan Randle El -- an almost forgotten figure during his return season with just 22 receptions -- sparked a quick 77-yard drive. Hines Ward, the 2006 Super Bowl MVP, had 39 yards on three catches during the series, including an 8-yard TD when he completely fooled Jarrett Bush.

A quick defensive stop and a 50-yard drive to Rashard Mendenhall's 8-yard touchdown run made it 21-17. But with coach Mike Tomlin's team driving for perhaps its first lead of the game, Mendenhall was stripped at the Green Bay 33 by Clay Matthews -- one of the few plays the All-Pro linebacker made. The Packers recovered, and Rodgers hit Jennings for 8 yards and the winning points.

Pittsburgh's last score was on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace and a brilliant pitchout by Roethlisberger to Randle El for a 2-point conversion, making it 28-25 with 7:34 left.

Mason Crosby added a 23-yard field goal for the Packers and the Steelers had no more comebacks in them like the one Roethlisberger staged to win the Super Bowl two years ago. He missed on his last three passes in the final moments.

"You play to be world champions," Matthews said, "and that's what we are today."

The game capped an interesting weather week in Dallas for the teams and fans alike.

Snow and ice caused traffic snarls, canceled flights and caused injuries to six people when it fell from the roof of the stadium. Sunny skies and milder temperatures returned Sunday, but issues arose with seats at the game.

A total of 1,250 temporary seats were considered unsafe hours before kickoff. Even while the teams were warming up on the field, workers were trying to fix the problems -- many involving seats carrying pricetags of $800 and up.

About 400 people with tickets couldn't be seated inside the stadium and the league offered refunds of triple the ticket price.

At least the Packers and Steelers put on a terrific show after Christina Aguilera botched the lyrics to the national anthem.

Rodgers hit Nelson in stride with a long pass on Green Bay's first series, but the wideout let it slide through his hands. The Pack had discovered something, though, and went back to that play for the first touchdown. Nelson beat William Gay and held on for a 7-0 lead; the Packers have scored first in all five Super Bowl appearances.

Just 24 seconds later, they were ahead by 14. Throwing from his end zone, Roethlisberger's arm was hit by backup nose tackle Howard Green. The ball fluttered to the Pittsburgh 37, where Collins settled under it, then scooted down the right sideline and dived into the end zone for the 13th interception return for a score. Teams doing so are now 11-0 in Super Bowls.

Needing to get busy or get buried, Pittsburgh put together a 13-play drive to Shaun Suisham's 33-yard field goal. Then, after moving well again, Roethlisberger's pass was stolen from Wallace's hands by Bush at the Pittsburgh 46.

Rodgers coolly completed passes to Jennings and Nelson, James Starks ran for 12 yards as Polamalu whiffed on a tackle, then Jennings reached high and slightly behind to snag a 21-yarder over Polamalu for a 21-3 edge.

"I had some opportunities to make some plays," Polamalu said. "I was just off a step here or there."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PIT
GB
1st Downs1915
Passing 1st downs
1111
Rushing 1st downs
84
1st downs from Penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
7-136-13
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6455
Total Yards387338
Yards per play6.06.1
Total Drives1212
Passing261288
Comp - Att
25-4024-39
Yards per pass
6.57.4
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-23-16
Rushing12650
Rushing Attempts
2313
Yards per rush
5.53.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-31-2
Penalties6-557-67
Turnovers30
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession33:2526:35

Passing Leaders

PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...25/402636.6221-2
GBC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rodgers24/393047.8303-16

Rushing Leaders

PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall14634.5117
Roethli...4317.8018
GBCARYDSAVGTDLG
Starks11524.7014
Rodgers2-2-1.000

Receiving Leaders

PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wallace9899.912516
Ward77811.11179
GBRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Nelson914015.613815
Jennings46416.02317

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPITGB
gbTD03:44Jordy Nelson 29 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 07
gbTD03:20Nick Collins 37 Yd Interception Return (Mason Crosby Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERPITGB
pitFG11:08Shaun Suisham 33 Yd 314
gbTD02:24Greg Jennings 21 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 321
pitTD00:39Hines Ward 8 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick) 1021
THIRD QUARTERPITGB
pitTD10:19Rashard Mendenhall 8 Yd Run (Shaun Suisham Kick) 1721
FOURTH QUARTERPITGB
gbTD11:57Greg Jennings 8 Yd Pass From Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby Kick) 1728
pitTD07:34Mike Wallace 25 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Antwaan Randle El Run For Two-Point Conversion) 2528
gbFG02:07Mason Crosby 23 Yd 2531

Research Notes

Before leaving the game late in the second quarter with a collarbone injury, cornerback Charles Woodson played an important role for the defense of the Packers. Woodson was on the field for 30 snaps and was able to penetrate the offensive backfield on 7 of those plays. Against five rushes, the Packers allowed just 1.7 yards per carry and collected three tackles for loss when Woodson was a part of run-blitz pressure.
  [+]
Troy Polamalu made a name for himself all season by causing havoc around the line of scrimmage. In the Super Bowl, the Defensive Player of the Year lined up within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage on only three of the Packers' 55 offensive snaps and didn't record a tackle until the fourth quarter. Polamalu was ineffective in the passing game as well - Aaron Rodgers completed 2-of-3 passes for 20 yards when Polamalu blitzed. Polamalu also was the closest defender on both of Greg Jennings' touchdown receptions.
The Steelers' pass defense was excellent this season with five or more defensive backs on the field, but for the second time in two years, Aaron Rodgers torched the Steelers' defense when they used that personnel package. A year after Rodgers threw for three touchdowns and posted a 146.8 passer rating against five or more defensive backs (Week 15, 2009), Rodgers completed 14 of his 24 attempts for 207 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday.
  [+]
Through Week 9, Aaron Rodgers was one of the lowest-rated passers when throwing outside the numbers on the right side of the field. Rodgers has been nearly flawless in that direction since the Packers' bye week and completed 9-of-12 passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
  [+]
Ben Roethlisberger was 6-of-7 for 137 yards and a touchdown when using play action against the Packers last season (158.3 passer rating). In the Super Bowl, Big Ben completed only one of his four attempts following a play fake, a four-yard completion to Emmanuel Sanders in the first quarter.
Jordy Nelson was targeted seven times on passes more than 10 yards downfield in the Super Bowl, a single-game high for Nelson this season. Rodgers started going 0-for-2 on such passes to Nelson on Sunday, but completed four of his next five including the first touchdown of the game.
During the regular season, the Packers led the NFL with 72 passes disrupted with five or more defensive backs on the field (interceptions and passes defended). Green Bay disrupted 15 passes during the 2010 postseason including four passes in the Super Bowl (3 passes defended, Int). The last of the four┐a pass defended by Tramon Williams┐ended the Steelers' final drive on 4th and 5 with 49 seconds remaining in the game.
Ben Roethlisberger excelled on throws 21 yards or more downfield during the regular season, leading the league in passer rating among qualified quarterbacks (107.9). He struggled on such throws during the 2010 postseason and wasn't able to right the ship against the Packers on Sunday. In the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger completed one of his six attempts, and threw an interception returned for a touchdown by Nick Collins in the first quarter.
  [+]
The Packers, the NFL's most prolific team in terms of using three or more wide receiver formations, scored two of their three offensive touchdowns from formations that feature at least two tight ends in the Super Bowl against the Steelers. In his three previous postseason games in 2010, Aaron Rodgers had only passed from multiple tight end formations on 9 of 93 attempts with no touchdowns. In the Super Bowl, Rodgers and the Packers doubled the percentage of passing plays with at least two tight ends against the aggressive Steelers' defense.
  [+]
The Steelers sent five or more pass rushers on 59.5 percent of Aaron Rodgers' dropbacks in the Super Bowl, the highest percentage against Rodgers all season and the highest rate since Week 15 of 2009, when the Steelers rushed five or more 58.8 percent of the time.
Aaron Rodgers continued a successful postseason against four or fewer pass rushers in Super Bowl XLV. Although Rodgers faced five or more pass rushers more often than not on Sunday, it was when the Steelers sent four or fewer that Rodgers did the most damage, completing 10 of 16 passes including all three touchdowns on his way to Super Bowl MVP.
  [+]
NEXT-LEVEL: Both of Ben Roethlisberger's Super Bowl interceptions came on targets to Mike Wallace. Entering Sunday, Roethlisberger had thrown only two interceptions all season when targeting Wallace.
NEXT-LEVEL: The Steelers sent five or more pass rushers on 59.5 percent of Aaron Rodgers' dropbacks in the Super Bowl, the highest percentage against Rodgers all season and the highest rate since Week 15 of 2009, when the Steelers rushed five or more 58.8 percent of the time.
NEXT-LEVEL: The Super Bowl was the first game all season where Aaron Rodgers didn't record a rushing attempt via the scramble and the first time since Week 17 of the 2009 season. Ben Roethlisberger, on the other hand, scrambled four times for 31 yards. The four scramble attempts tied his single-game high for the 2010 season, a mark he set in the Conference Championship against the Jets.
NEXT-LEVEL: Before leaving the game late in the second quarter with a collarbone injury, cornerback Charles Woodson played an important role for the defense of the Packers. Woodson was on the field for 31 snaps and was able to penetrate the offensive backfield on seven of those plays. Against five such rushes, the Packers allowed just 1.7 yards per carry and collected three tackles for loss when Woodson was a part of run-blitz pressure.
NEXT-LEVEL: Jordy Nelson was targeted seven times on passes more than 10 yards downfield in the Super Bowl, a single-game high for Nelson this season. Rodgers started going 0-for-2 on such passes to Nelson on Sunday, but completed four of his next five including the first touchdown of the game.
As Green Bay gears up for the Packers' matchup with the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, could a college basketball result from Saturday be a harbinger of bad things? On Saturday, the Green Bay Phoenix lost on the road in Horizon League play to the Milwaukee Panthers, 88-75. The Panthers' team colors? Black and gold, the same colors as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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