Close the book on Brett Favre. Aaron Rodgers stands on his own now.
Long overshadowed by Favre’s accomplishments, Rodgers crawled out of that chilling darkness by leading his team to a 31-25 Super Bowl XLV victory over the Steelers.
Rodgers, the game’s MVP, went 24-of-39 for 304 yards and three touchdowns against the league’s top defense. He had help, too, as the Green Bay defense picked off Ben Roethlisberger twice and caused a fumble. All three turnovers produced touchdowns.
But history will remember that it was Rodgers who brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to the home of its real-life namesake. It was the Packers’ second Super Bowl victory since the 1970 merger, their fourth overall. He hit huge passes, too, not the least of which was his 31-yard completion to Jennings on third-and-10 deep in Packers territory after Pittsburgh cut the fourth-quarter lead to 28-25. Mason Crosby finished that drive with a 23-yard field goal for a 31-25 lead with 2:07 remaining.
Roethlisberger, 25-of-40 for 263 with two touchdowns and two intereptions, had one more chance, but three passes fell incomplete, and Rodgers took a knee to drain the clock on his first world championship.
Playing without its blitzing cornerback Charles Woodson since halftime because of a collarbone injury, the defense staved off a Steelers comeback from 21-3 in the second quarter to 21-17 in the third. A key sack by Frank Zombo led to a missed 52-yard field goal attempt by Shaun Suisham, and a fumble caused by Clay Matthews, the Steelers’ third turnover, led to Rodgers’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, his second score of the game, and a 28-17 fourth-quarter lead.
It was truly the turnovers that cost the Steelers a shot at their seventh Super Bowl title, as the Packers converted both Ben Roethlisberger interceptions in the first half into touchdowns. Nate Collins brought the first one back 37 yards for a touchdown, and the other put Rodgers on a short field, always a dangerous thing.