A solid defense that gives up some yardage but doesn’t give up the points….CHECK.
Special teams that have gotten steadily better over the last 5 to 6 weeks…...CHECK
An offense that can get the ball and end a game in the waning moments with a solid, clock winding drive….errrr…WAIT A MINUTE!
Going back to week 17 when the Packers had possession of the ball with 11:46 and with 7:02 to go in the game, both instances running 4 plays and barely chewing up 2 minutes on the clock, the Packers offense can’t seem to “close it out”. It’s been Green Bay’s defense that has been forced back out on to the field of play to shut down opponents.
For as much as we make of the 5-wides, Aaron Rodgers scramble capabilities and the semblance of a run game, the Packers simply aren’t consistent enough on offense to run out the clock for a foe demoralizing drive late in games.
With 4:02 to go in the Wild Card game vs. the Eagles, the Packers offense sputtered for 4 plays in 2 minutes to turn the ball back over to Michael Vick. Vick was eventually intercepted, as was Jay Cutler in the final regular season game as time wound down. It was a Sam Shields interception to seal the Packers Super Bowl fate when he picked off a driving Chicago Bears offense , guided by 3rd string QB Caleb Hanie, with :42 seconds to go in the game. Again, the offense, with 4:38 remaining in that contest, with an opportunity to close out the Bears, were unable to establish anything at all and went 3 and out thus relying on their defense.
When you look at the annals of NFL history, it is the teams that can close out their foes who become champions. Quarterback s and offenses are glorified by their ability to drive the ball down their opponent’s throats and either end a game or come from behind to win it. This offense, when it needs it most, has been at best woefully inconsistent when they need a drive the most.
While it will probably come down to a moment or two and/or a turnover that will determine the outcome of Super Bowl XLV, if it comes down to the Packers offense to sustain a drive, eat the clock and win the championship, I don’t have a lot of faith.
For the Packers to win this game, they need to sustain drives that end in points, spread out that Steelers defense and jump out to a lead and continue to add to it. If this games comes down to a close score, 7 points or less, late in the game and if they should leave it up to Big Ben, Rashard Mendenhall, Heath Miller and Hines Ward….I just don’t know how much more magic this Packers defense has up it’s sleeve.
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