Super Bowl XLV — Steelers and Packers

By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Super Bowl XLV took place on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Field in Arlington, Texas between the Green Bay Packers 13-6 coached by Mike McCarthy and the Pittsburgh Steelers 14-4 appearing in their third Super Bowl in six years coached by Mike Tomlin.

McCarthy’s assistants were offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Dom Capers and were led on offense by 27 year old Aaron Rodgers in his third full NFL season who passed for 3922 yards and 38 touchdowns.

It was actually Rodgers’ sixth NFL season but the first three he was backup to Brett Favre and saw little playing time.

In the backfield with Rodgers was Brandon Jackson (703 yards rushing, 3 TD’s) and his receivers were Greg Jennings (1265 yards, 12 TD’s) and James Jones (679 yards, 5 TD’s) while the place kicker was Mason Crosby who converted on 22 of 28 field goal attempts.

The defense was anchored by former Ohio State star linebacker A. J. Hawk who had 111 combined tackles and 3 interceptions, Clay Matthews (13.5 sacks) and Tramon Williams (6 interceptions).

Mike Tomlin’s offensive coordinator was Bruce Arians, his defensive coordination was Dick LaBeau and they were led on offense by Ben Roethlisberger who passed for 3200 yards and 17 touchdowns, Rashard Mendenhall (1273 rushing yards, 13 TD’s), Mike Wallace (1257 receiving yards, 10 TD’s), Hines Ward (755 receiving yards, 5 TD’s) who was the game MVP of Super Bowl XL, and the field goal kicker was Shawn Suisham who made 14 of 15 from field goal range after replacing Jeff Reed midway through the season.

The Pittsburgh defense was led by Lawrence Timmons (135 combined tackles, 2 interceptions, and 3 sacks), James Farrior (109 combined tackles, 6 sacks), James Harrison (2 interceptions, 10 sacks), LaMarr Woodley (2 interceptions, 10 sacks) and Troy Polamalu with 7 interceptions.

The Packers scored first on an 80 yard drive directed by Rodgers with the big play being a 29 yard completion to Jordy Nelson for the touchdown and 7-0 Green Bay lead.

Any turnover that results in a score is significant in a Super Bowl, and on the next series with Roethlisberger starting from his own 7 yard line his pass was intended for Mike Wallace but like the previous year when Peyton Manning was intercepted for a score, was intercepted by Nick Collins at the Pittsburgh 37 yard line who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown and the Packers are up 14-0 after the first quarter.

Shawn Suisham kicked a 33 yard field goal to make the score 14-3 but with 4:35 left in the half Roethlisberger was again intercepted, this time by Jarrett Bush and Aaron Rodgers starting at midfield directed the Pack to a score on a 21 yard pass play to Greg Jennings.

On the next series starting at his own 23 yard line Roethlisberger directed a scoring drive with an eight yard completion to Hines Ward for a TD and the teams go into the locker rooms with Green Bay leading 21-10.

The only scoring in the third quarter was on an eight yard touchdown run by the Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall and the teams go into the fourth quarter with Green Bay ahead 21-17.

The fourth quarter started with a fumble by Rashard Mendenhall recovered by Green Bay which with the help of a 38 yard pass play from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson was converted into a touchdown to make the score 28-17 in favor of the Pack.

On the next series Roethlisberger led the Steelers downfield for a score on a 25 yard scoring play from Big Ben to Mike Wallace. They made good on the two point conversion to bring the score to 28-25 with 7:40 left in the game.

Aaron Rodgers took five minutes off the clock as he maneuvered his team into field goal positon with Mason Crosby kicking one from 23 yards out with 2:10 left in the game for a 31-25 Green Bay lead which proved to be the final score as Roethlisberger could not rally his team for a score. The two interceptions and one fumble proved to be too much of an obstacle for Pittsburgh to overcome.

Aaron Rodgers got the game MVP and just finished his seventeenth season in the NFL and has not returned to the Super Bowl since 2011. Likewise Pittsburgh has not been back and Ben Roethlisberger retired after the 2021 season.

Statistics for this article were from pro-football-reference.com.

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.