Analysis: Packers Super Win Reflects Season's Pathway, Team's Resolve
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ARLINGTON, Tex. - "The Green Bay Packers are world champions."
For the 13th time, Packers Planet (not nation, but planet) can say that.
How symbolic that they won the title in a game that reflected the journey of one of the most incredible roller coaster seasons in recent NFL annals.
It was textbook offense from Aaron Rodgers, burning the top-ranked defense in the NFL like it was toast left in the toaster too long.
But then the injury bug struck just at a time when confidence was high, just like it did all year long.
As Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant went down in the early going of the year, so did Charles Woodson, Donald Driver and Sam Shields in the first half.
And even though the Packers had a two-score lead, it was the most tenuous two-score lead I've ever seen.
In the 3rd and early 4th quarter of the season, the Packers fell down and fell down hard, with losses to Detroit and New England that put the Packers' backs against the wall.
That's exactly how it happened as the Steelers put Green Bay's lead on life support, continuing to challenge an injury-plagued team.
But the Packers came back again. And again.
The defense came up huge, as it had in this six-game win-or-die run that may be unprecedented in NFL history.
As Pittsburgh was driving toward the lead, Clay Matthews came up with the forced fumble of a lifetime.
Aaron Rodgers then came up as clutch, clutcher than clutch, with first down throws to James Jones and Jordy Nelson (who committed horrible drops earlier in the half) and the biggest insurance touchdown in Packers history, to Greg Jennings.
24-39, 304 yards, three scoring throws, zero picks, and a 111.5 rating doesn't say enough about Rodgers. He came up big when they needed him.
Then, once again, after a Pittsburgh touchdown pass to Mike Wallace, it was Rodgers again delivering passes to Jennings and Jones to deliver the field goal that would make Pittsburgh go the length of the field to pull off a miracle.
The defense wouldn't let them, as they repeated their dagger from the two Chicago wins and the Philadelphia escape.
"It was the great resolve of our football team," said Mike McCarthy. "We had some bumps....but a tremendous effort. Coach Lombardi's trophy is finally coming home."
In a win that reflected the pathway of their entire season, indeed, Mike McCarthy, indeed.