Packers succeed where Ravens failed

There might have been some Ravens fans pulling for the rival Steelers last night, but my guess is that most of those who support the purple and black are rejoicing today.

The Lombardi Trophy won't be paraded around Baltimore, but at least it won't end up in Pittsburgh, either. The Packers made sure of that.

Before we get into the details of last night's game, let's be honest here - when Pittsburgh got the ball back trailing by six with two minutes to play in regulation, how many of you cringed and envisioned another Ben Roethlisberger-led game-winning drive?

I'll admit, despite the fact that Big Ben had struggled against the Green Bay defense for much of the game, I wouldn't have been shocked to see some more late-game heroics out of the Steelers' No. 7. That's just what we've grown to expect over the last handful of years.

Instead, he and the Pittsburgh offense came up short, and apparently Roethlisberger was left in tears after the loss.

I was left smiling, as my prediction of a 31-27 Packers win was just two points off and made me look a heck of a lot smarter than I actually am.

On the other side of the quarterback spectrum, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers picked the Steelers' secondary apart last night, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns, earning him Super Bowl MVP honors. And boy, did he deserve it.

As was the case throughout the playoffs, Rodgers was absolutely on point last night. His accuracy, arm strength and mobility make him so tough for teams to defend, and he was the difference in Green Bay's title run.

Rodgers had at least five or six throws down the field that could not have been placed any more perfectly, and if it wasn't for a few terrible drops by the Packers wide receivers, this game might not have been all that close.

For a while there, the Super Bowl was starting to resemble the Ravens' divisional round loss to Pittsburgh, in that Green Bay jumped out to a big lead early, but the Steelers slowly started to claw their way back into it and appeared to have all the momentum on their side.

Unlike the Ravens, the Pack didn't turn the ball over, kept their offense moving, and were able to fend off a few momentum-changing Steelers drives in the second half.

In the end, the Packers succeeded where the Ravens failed - Green Bay was able to spread the field out with four and five receiver sets, attack the Steelers' secondary, and consistently move the ball down the field. Ravens wide receiver Donte' Stallworth took note of that strategy as well.

Even when No. 2 wide receiver Donald Driver went out for the game with a high ankle sprain, the Packers knew they could still exploit Pittsburgh's nickel and dime packages, and so they essentially abandoned the run - Green Bay only ran the ball 13 times all game - and had Rodgers fling it around through the air.

Few quarterbacks can play at the level that Rodgers did last night (I think the former Cal QB has now elevated himself into the lower-tier of the Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees class), but against the Steelers, that type of performance was needed.

Joe Flacco isn't quite there yet. Rodgers is, and his effort in Super Bowl XLV made the difference.

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