What a day this was. First, the Packers jump out to a big lead early over the Bears and due to injuries at the QB position, 3rd string Caleb Hanie was relied on for a last-minute, 14 point comeback for the Bears. He was able to get 7 of those 14 points for Chicago, but ultimately threw an interception to Green Bay to end the Bears’ hopes.
The Steelers, like the Packers, jumped out to a large lead as well. 24-0 in fact. And that was just in the first half. The Jets defense had no answer for either Big Ben Roethlisberger, Rashard Mendenhall, or really any of the things the Steelers threw their direction.
Drive after drive, when the Jets had the ball, the Steelers defense was just the opposite. They got to Sanchez time after time, disrupting his flow and timing. In the second quarter, CB Ike Taylor came in on a blind side corner blitz and destroyed Mark Sanchez. I’m talking full-on scrunched face upon impact, eyes closed in pain before the ball even came out kind of tackle.
The Jets defense, however, was able to step up in the second half and hold the Steelers scoreless while Sanchez tried to chip away at the lead. They managed to claw their way back to just down 24-19 with over 3 minutes left in the 4th and all 3 timeouts remaining. They elected to kickoff to Pittsburgh and test their defense one last time, whether in this game or this season. Turns out, it was to be season as Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers gained the yards required to drain the clock.
One play of note in that drive was on 3rd and 6 on the Jets’ 40 yard line with just enough time left on the game clock that running the ball and not getting a first down would mean the Jets getting one last short chance at winning the game. Well, the Steelers decided instead to go for the throat and pass instead of run. Antonio Brown made the first down reception and Pittsburgh knelt it out from there.
February 6th, 2011 6PM ET will showcase the 2 honestly best overall teams in the NFL from each side. You can’t find 2 teams with such talent on both sides of the ball. You can bet this Super Bowl will be hyped as a battle mainly between the Steelers defense and Aaron Rodgers. And when that wears out, they’ll hit the Roethlisberger vs Matthews, Woodson, and the rest of the Packers defense. There really is no clear winner right off the bat. This should be one of the best Super Bowls in a long, long time.