Monday, February 7, 2011

Superbowl XLV

Huzzah! Hail the legendary Packers who somehow managed to make this game disturbingly close but still win. This game mirrored every other Pack game in the playoffs except the Atlanta game. Green Bay got an early commanding lead and then almost gave it up but the defense forced enough turnovers to make up for it. I was hoping that if the Steelers had to win that Roethlisberger wouldn't have any TDs and less than 100 passing yards so Rodgers would still get the MVP but alas his numbers did slightly improve. Fortunately our team held on, though once again we could have scored 50 points if receivers didn't drop crucial passes repeatedly. Rodgers had one of the best superbowl performances ever but he could have easily had another 100 yards and 2 TDs if everything had gone ideally.

I suppose for all you non-Packer fans out there this was a good outcome in the sense that the game was interesting most of the way through, (well certainly the whole second half was) and we have been extremely fortunate as of late in that the Superbowl has usually been competitive throughout (last year being excepted). The Steelers actually held the ball for almost twice as long as the Pack but the 3 turnovers are what ultimately killed them. While we did have the capacity to drive even in the second half the receivers started to forget they had hands and dropping 3rd down passes and touchdowns left and right. Our special teams performance was once again craptastic except for Masthay the legendary punter.

As you may have noticed I have been criticizing McCarthy a bunch of late but I do think his playcalling is at least interesting and varied. While he seemed to make consistent mistakes in the regular season I like that he changed it up a lot in the playoffs. In some regard we did give the Steelers a lot more time on the clock and they just managed it exceedingly poorly, but by passing 4 times as much as we ran we did keep the ball in the hands of our best player and the best part of our offense. If the receivers had dropped only a few balls instead of 4 or 5 he may even be hailed a genius. The Steelers run defense is pretty impressive while their pass defense is sort of meh, as demonstrated by this game. The only time we got significant yardage was when they weren't expecting us to run, and while Starks' numbers look alright per carry he did get stuffed most of the time. The clock run-out at the goal line was odd but still somewhat effective, ideally Jordy Nelson catches the final pass and we have a TD to seal the game instead of a blundering Pittsburgh drive.

Which brings me to my last point, Roethlisberger may be a competent QB but you really can't compare him to Rodgers, Manning, and Brady at this point, just because he looks somewhat better than his numbers and plays on a very good team from year to year does not make him Joe Montana. The two picks are what gave us the game, the Sanchezian comeback he had does not forgive those turnovers. And of course there's always the last drive where the Steelers looked awful and Roethlisberger failed to channel John Elway in attempting "The Drive" to win the game with just 1 timeout and 2 minutes left. They managed about 15 yards and 1:30 off the clock in roughly 4 plays, while our battered, injured defense was certainly proficient I don't think this portion of the game was so much a defensive stand as an offensive fallout. After driving successfully (though destroying the clock while they were behind) for the second half they somehow managed to fail to get 2 first downs in the most crucial drive of the game. At any rate the Packers will be good for years to come and mayhap I'll be able to celebrate one more time.

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