Steelers leave the Nation disappointed
All of Pittsburgh had been waiting for this day for two weeks. Unfortunately for them, the Steelers came up short in the Super Bowl XLV by a score of 31–25, leaving them with “only” six Super Bowl Championships. For a game with so much anticipation and build-up for the city, the Steelers couldn’t have come out flatter, putting together a terrible first quarter to kick off the game.
Pittsburgh started off with the ball in the first quarter, and subsequently went three and out in an ugly series. Fortunately for the Steelers, they were able to stop the prolific Packers offense, who presented a terrible matchup for the Steelers all game. After another Steelers three and out, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went to work, picking apart the weak Steelers secondary in a masterful drive that culminated with a 29-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson. However, the Packers weren’t finished. On the next Steelers possession, QB Ben Roethlisberger got hit as he threw, and was promptly intercepted for a touchdown by safety Nick Collins. Just like that, it was 14–0 Green Bay.
After that awful first quarter, the Steelers picked it up a bit, playing with the Packers throughout a second quarter which was marked with injuries. The Steelers were able to manufacture a field goal to make the score 14–3, but again, the Packers answered with a methodical drive that baffled the Steelers secondary. The drive ended with a twenty-one yard touchdown strike to the dangerous Greg Jennings as Troy Polamalu laid out Jennings in the end zone. With just two minutes left in the half and an 18-point deficit, Roethilisberger engineered a 77-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard touchdown pass to the Super Bowl veteran Hines Ward. The second quarter for the Green Bay side was especially littered with injuries, a theme which was the story of the 2010 Packers season. Pro-Bowl CB Charles Woodson, starting CB Sam Shields, and Collins all left the field at some point in the quarter, along with Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders.
Following a pretty uninspiring halftime performance by the auto-tuned Black Eyed Peas, the Packers got the ball and looked to put the game away, but a drop by WR James Jones on a sure touchdown gave the ball back to the Steelers. After a questionable face mask penalty, the Steelers ran the ball down the throats of the Packers with premiere running back Rashard Mendenhall to get the game within four points, 21–17. With all the momentum on their side, it seemed as if the Steelers would take the lead on their next possession as they drove inside the Packers’ 30. With a fresh set of downs, the Steelers were poised to take the lead but were stopped with a third-down sack of Big Ben. The Steelers’ head coach then made a questionable decision, going for a 52-yard field goal with journeyman kicker Shane Suisham. Of course, Suisham badly missed, and although the Packers didn’t score, the field position was changed and the Steelers had to start their drive from their own 11-yard line. The third quarter ended with a few punts back and forth, leading to the decisive fourth quarter.
With the start of the fourth quarter and the Steelers threatening to score again, the Steeler Nation was ecstatic. That was until a costly fumble by Mendenhall at the Packers’ 35-yard line created a potential 14-point swing, as Rodgers passed to Greg Jennings for an eight yard touchdown and a 28–17 lead. It looked bleak for Pittsburgh, but the Steelers weren’t done yet. Short pass after short pass was completed from Big Ben to receivers like Ward, Wallace, and Brown, and eventually Roethlisberger feathered in a perfect pass to Wallace for a beautiful 25-yard touchdown pass over the injured Sam Shields. Pittsburgh then succeeded on the two-point conversion, putting them within a field goal. Then the weakness of the Steelers showed itself again, as a third down completion to the elusive Greg Jennings brought the Packers within Steeler territory, and another completion to James Jones brought them into the red zone. The Steelers’ defense held the Packers to a field goal and setting up a potential game-winning drive for Pittsburgh in the final two minutes.
Starting at their own 10- yard line, Big Ben lined up under center. A few plays and yards later, he lined up again for a fourth down play that would decide Super Bowl XLV. Dropping back to pass, Big Ben fired to a hooking Mike Wallace, and Steeler Nation had its championship dreams squashed as the ball hit the turf. It looks like the Steelers will have to wait until next year, as the Packers and Aaron Rodgers took home their second Super Bowl Championship.