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Today in Sports History: 2/6 | Green Bay Packers Beat Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV

Today in sports history (2011), Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-25, to win Super Bowl XLV. The win gave the Packers their first Super Bowl win since 1997 and their second Super Bowl since 1968.

Even though the Packers snuck into the playoffs as the sixth seed, they came into the game favored by three points. On the other hand, the Steelers came in as the second seed in the AFC, with a 12-4 record. At the time of the game, this was the Steelers’ eighth Super Bowl appearance, which was good for first place in NFL history. Until Super Bowl LV, the Packers were the last wild card team to make the Super Bowl.

Aaron Rodgers Jordy Nelson Super Bowl XLV
Credit: Steve Apps/State Journal

Green Bay Packers Open Super Bowl XLV Hot

The game opened up with three straight punts before the Green Bay Packers established the tempo. Rodgers connected with Jordy Nelson on a 29-yard touchdown to build a 7-0 lead. On the first play of the Steelers’ subsequent drive, Ben Roethlisberger was hit by Howard Green. His pass attempt was short of Mike Wallace and intercepted by Nick Collins, who returned the interception all the way back for a 37-yard touchdown. This pick-six was the third consecutive Super Bowl with an interception returned for a touchdown.

On Pittsburgh’s second-quarter drive, they finally got onto the board. Driving 49 yards in 13 plays, Shaun Suisham hit a field goal to move the score to 14-3. Pittsburgh forced a Green Bay punt and looked to be getting back momentum. On their ensuing drive, Roethlisberger was intercepted by Packers’ defensive back Jarrett Bush. Rodgers led the next drive, completing two passes for 20 yards. James Starks added another 12-yard run before Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for a 21-yard touchdown.

With 2:24 left in the second quarter, Roethlisberger led a scoring drive, with the help of Hines Ward making three receptions, the last one being an eight-yard touchdown. Going into halftime, injuries surfaced, including Charles Woodson, Emmanuel Sanders, Sam Shields and Donald Driver.

Pittsburgh Steelers Fall Short of a Super Bowl XLV Comeback

Pittsburgh’s defense stepped up in the second half, forcing Green Bay to punt immediately. The Steelers resorted to the run, finishing their drive after running the ball five times. Rashard Mendenhall finished the drive scoring an eight-yard touchdown. This brought the score to 21-17. The Steelers once again made the Packers punt, and they once again moved the ball quickly downfield. After getting to the Packers’ 29-yard line, the drive stalled. An incompletion, tackle for a loss and sack led to a Steelers field goal. The kick sailed wide left and the Packers got their offense back onto the field.

The Pittsburgh Steelers eventually got the ball back and on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Clay Matthews stripped Mendenhall. The ball was recovered by Desmond Bishop and the Packers took over on their 45-yard line. On third and 10, Rodgers hit Nelson on a 38-yard pass down to the two-yard line. After a sack, Rodgers threw his second touchdown pass to Jennings on the day. With the score at 28-17, Roethlisberger came back with a drive consisting of six completions. The drive finished with a 25-yard touchdown from Wallace. Antwaan Randle El scored the two-point conversion on a sweep.

The deficit was now cut to 28-25, in favor of Green Bay. On the biggest play of the game, Rodgers and the offense faced a third and long. Rodgers hit Jennings over the middle of the field for a 31-yard completion.

The Packers eventually settled for a field goal to move the score to 31-25. Pittsburgh looked to score on the game-winning drive with 2:07 left but failed. Green Bay took over and ran the clock out to win Super Bowl XLV.

Washington Commies

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