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THE PACK IS BACK

Aaron Rodgers tosses 3 TDs, as Packers hold off Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

Packers 31, Steelers 25

How Green Bay won ...

1 Turnovers — Every turnover is an opportunity — and the Packers made the most of every single one. They forced three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) and turned them into 21 points. Aaron Rodgers probably couldn’t have done it without the extra help. The Super Bowl MVP took the last turnover and hit Greg Jennings for an 8-yard touchdown to make it 28-17 with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

2 Full Nelson — Sure, he had a few big drops but receiver Jordy Nelson also came up with some big plays when Rodgers needed him the most — especially in between the 20s. Nelson caught nine balls for 140 yards (15 targets), including a 38-yard gainer on third down in what turned out to be the game-winning drive.

3 By the hair — Where was Troy Polamalu? The NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year was a non-factor, finishing with just three tackles and looked to be slowed by his strained Achilles. In fact, the only time his trademark curls appeared on camera was after Jennings beat him on two corner routes in the end zone. He also slipped on a blitz call late in the fourth quarter that opened up another lethal reception for Nelson.

Self-inflicted

The Steelers played uncharacteristically sloppy football. Here’s what went wrong for the AFC champs:

» Miscues:
The Packers scored 21 points off three Steelers’ turnovers. There was none more costly than Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble early in the fourth quarter. Trailing 21-17, the Steelers had all the momentum at midfield but a missed block by the fullback allowed Clay Matthews to make a jarring hit in the backfield.

» Wallace the slowpoke:
Pittsburgh’s biggest and fastest receiving threat was pretty much silenced for the first three quarters, courtesy of Charles Woodson. After closing out the regular season with three straight 100-yard games, Mike Wallace scored just his first postseason TD in the Super Bowl’s final quarter.

» A little help, please:
The Steelers pride themselves on stopping the run and they did that yesterday, but they never came close to creating a turnover. The Bears, by comparison, forced Aaron Rodgers into two picks two weeks ago.

 
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