Super Bowl XLV: Steelers Fall To Packers 31-25

Super Bowl XLV has come and gone, with the Green Bay Packers emerged victorious.

I’d like to extend a sincere congratulations to the organization, coaches, players and fans. It’s your day, your moment. You earned it by beating one of the best teams in NFL history. I’d like to say that Packers fans have won with class, as least towards myself. I’ve yet to have one rub the win in my face, and that bodes well for the coming days, a rivalry may have been born tonight.

Ignore the Steelers fans for now. Give them a day to cool off. They’re still stinging from the loss. It was a tough one to take, trust me. Being so close and having the season come crashing down isn’t something most can put aside moments after it’s happened, but I’ll try.

You were the better team today. You capitalized on the Steelers mistakes, as any elite team should, and your quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, put an exclamation mark on his championship belt. He can now do that celebration with a purpose, and a meaning behind it. He shook off some ridiculous drops from his wide receivers and led his team, as only a true champion can. I’ve got nothing but respect for him for that.

On the other side of things, the Steelers and us fans should not hang our heads. They played their hearts out, some things just aren’t meant to be. It’s cliche, but we really can’t win them all. This team has six Super Bowl wins, that’s more than any team in the HISTORY of the NFL, and they’re nowhere near done winning them.

This is a team that fought through all kinds of adversity to even make it to Super Bowl XLV, no one gave them a chance to win the AFC North, much less go into the playoffs as the second seed in the AFC. Everyone was crowning the Baltimore Ravens as AFC North champions, and the New England Patriots as Super Bowl champions.

This is a team that made me proud, they came together through thick and thin. They stood behind a quarterback that the media and fans alike made a virtual pariah everywhere he went, one that was analyzed and scrutinized for sneezing wrong, they gave him a second chance when no one else would.

They shrugged off the trading of a playmaker at receiver, rookies stepped up and made big plays in big games, they proved that they can win with anyone. They fought through injuries to key personnel on both sides of the ball, and they played their hearts out week in and week out. There’s no shame in that.

I’d like to take a look at a few notes on a few individual performances and plays, and I hope you’ll join me for the recollection and re-hashing.

Ben Roethlisberger

King Clutch didn’t ever seem to get into a true rhythm in this game, as he usually does. He seemed to feel pressure coming from everywhere and just seemed off for the majority of the night. There were a few passes that he makes on a weekly basis that he simply couldn’t make in last night’s game.

Many people speculate on the improbability of overthrowing a receiver with Mike Wallace’s speed, but it happened tonight. His receivers weren’t helping him with spectacular catches tonight like they usually do though. There were some balls that were dropped that were definitely catch-able, even if they weren’t perfectly on target.

His two interceptions were like daggers to the heart of Steelers fans everywhere, especially when Packers’ safety Nick Collins returned one for 37 and six points. Big Ben didn’t seem comfortable throwing to anyone tonight, and made some very questionable throws into tight and double coverage.

He’s got to protect the ball like the quarterback that he has shown himself to be, and not take pages out of Brett Favre’s playbook as a gunslinger. Bad things happen when he starts to force throws. Sure, you get lucky once in awhile, but it’s not a sure thing, not like quick slants can and have been for this team. Protecting the ball is key. And I understand that he’s a play-maker by both performance and reputation, but you can’t make plays without the ball in your hands as the quarterback.

This humbling loss puts his Hall Of Fame argument on hold for awhile, a third Super Bowl win would have likely cemented his place among the NFL’s elite, but that’s another story for another day. Pure speculation at this point.

What I AM impressed with in Roethlisberger’s case is his ability to turn his life around, seemingly for good. The difference in not only his press conferences, but in his demeanor in general is nothing short of impressive. He really has a chance to prove himself once more, and I don’t see anyone out there in Steeler Nation that’s not willing to give him another chance.

He has years to get back to the big game, and if you think this is the last time he’ll find himself in position to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, you’re crazy. He will be back, and don’t expect him to forget this loss any time soon.

Rashard Mendenhall

Mendenhall was finding room to the right all day long, he was slashing and gashing the entire Green Bay defense virtually effortlessly whenever he took the handoff and headed off of right tackle. His fumble was costly, and it’s definitely cause for concern, but it can be fixed.

Adrian Peterson is generally accepted as one of the best runningbacks in the NFL, and for good reason. But, he too had his issues with fumbling, and seemingly has corrected them. The same can be said for former New York Giants running back, and current analyst, Tiki Barber. Mendenhall has a golden opportunity to take that fumble and use it to his advantage.

He was the Steelers’ workhorse for the majority of the season, especially in the first four games, where they were without Roethlisberger, his spin move is nothing short of deadly to opposing defenses and his ability to keep his legs churning and reach the second level is something the Pittsburgh faithful haven’t seen since Jerome Bettis retired.

Troy Polamalu

Steeler Nation is infatuated with Troy Polamalu, and for good reason. Think back about the plays that defined this season and got the team to where they were and you can bet that Polamalu is present in most of, if not all of them.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that he’s been virtually invisible throughout the post-season, more than likely due to injury, but at the same time, if his injury is severe enough to effect his play that much, the question that’s begging to be asked is: is he the right play?

Well, yeah. He was the right play. Even an injured Polamalu forces opposing quarterback’s to hesitate and that seconds hesitation can prove to be disastrous for him, especially with Pittsburgh’s pass rush.

I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, or blatantly call a player out, but the only time I saw Polamalu in the fray was on Greg Jenning’s two touchdown passes.

He’s a phenomenal player, and truly respected around Pittsburgh and around the NFL in general. I hope that he can get his injury worked out and come back next year with a vengeance.

All in all, I’m disappointed with the result. But not with the journey that took the team and the fans there. At the end of the day, us Steelers’ fans are still spoiled. We rarely taste defeat. We rarely feel this kind of disappointment. Two times in over 70 years we’ve had this bitter taste in our mouth, and by my count, that’s not as bad as it could be.

This team is hungry. This team will come back next season with a vengeance. They will taste this success again, and we’ll all be along for the ride.

I’d like to thank the great folks over at Steeler Addicts for providing me a great place to watch and talk about the game, along with some of TwitterNation that were all around great people during the game. I look forward to talking to all of them during future Steelers’ Super Bowl’s. We truly are blessed by being part of such a loyal and friendly fan base. We win with class, and we lose with more. And at the end of the day, that speaks volumes about the level of respect that is bred within this organization, so much that it trickles down to the fans.

 

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~ by Steel Hurtin on February 7, 2011.

6 Responses to “Super Bowl XLV: Steelers Fall To Packers 31-25”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steel Hurtin', Steel Hurtin'. Steel Hurtin' said: Super Bowl XLV: Steelers Fall To Packers 31-25 http://wp.me/p1hAh8-24 […]

  2. […] <More> […]

  3. I think the thing that most impressed me was that they didn’t give up when they were down. They still fought hard. I think we should’ve seen more deep throws to Wallace. That kinda baffled me, especially after Woodson went out.
    But you’re right, we can’t win them all.

  4. Good piece man. I wish I could be as calm and collected as you are in terms of a ‘cooling off’ period, but I was just so disgusted with our play…. Definitely a lot to be proud of this season!

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