Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl XLV: Breaking Down the Green Bay Packers' Offense

  Aaron Rodgers #12 And Clay Matthews #52 Of The Green Bay Packers Of The Green Bay Packers Holds The Lombardi Trophy 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's the morning after Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers celebrated a Super Bowl Championship at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A week that couldn't go any worse for the host city, seem to finish with a bang thanks to a great game from the Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While there are those that are going to break down the game from every angle they can find, I'm only here to give you one angle and one angle alone, the Packers' offense.

Rodgers, the Super Bowl XLV MVP, couldn't have played any better and the Packers couldn't have asked for any more from him. Well, maybe with the exception of two touchdown passes dropped by wide receivers Jordy Nelson and James Jones respectively.

Catch those two passes and there is no drama late in the fourth quarter.

The first half belonged to the Packers. Though the offense put up just seven points in the first half, they did their job in wearing down the Steelers' defense.

What follows is each series from the Packers' offense and how they looked after each drive. We'll look at key plays, we'll look at a change in momentum, and we'll take a look at a few plays that could have made the outcome of the game completely different.

So, if you're ready, let's get after it.

Series 1: 6 plays 35 yards 2:00

After a muffed punt that the Packers could have lost and a play that could have damaged any chance of winning the game at all, Green Bay went six plays, used two minutes of the clock, but really never got anything done. They were trying to run the ball against the best run defense in the NFL and Rodgers completed just one of four passes.

Series 2: 9 plays 80 yards 4:33

If the Packers needed their first drive to get warmed up, it must have worked because their second drive looked nothing short of methodical. Rodgers was able to get his passes complete to Nelson, Corey Hall, and Brandon Jackson and they were also able to run the ball with a rookie running back.

On a bid third down play, Rodgers threw an absolutely perfect 29-yard touchdown pass to Nelson to put Green Bay on the board first.

Series 3: 4 plays 9 yards 1:31

The Pittsburgh Steelers seemed to figure out that putting pressure on the Packers' quarterback was the key to keeping him off balance and off the field. Two of three passes put them a yard short of the first down marker and they were forced to punt the ball back to the Steelers.

Series 4: 4 plays 53 yards 2:04

The Packers' defense steps up and picks off Roethlisberger for the second time on the night, the first of which was returned for a touchdown. Rodgers takes his team 53 yards down the field on just four plays and hit Greg Jennings from 21-yards out to give the Packers a 21-3 lead with just over two minutes to go in the half.


Through the first half of play, the Packers had the game well in hand and Rodgers was leading the way. He had completed 11-of-16 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. This was all Green Bay, at least we thought.

Series 5: 4 plays 4 yards 2:31

This was as sloppy as the Packers had looked all night. They hadn't been penalized on offense to this point but they were flagged twice in one drive. Once for holding on the first play of the drive and again for a false start. The momentum was shifting and it looked like Green Bay was going in the wrong direction.

Series 6: 4 plays -3 yards 1:12

The Steelers stepped up the pressure with blitzes through the Packers offensive line and it threw Rodgers completely off balance. A would have been touchdown dropped by Nelson was followed by a sack on third down sending the Green Bay offense off the field as fast as they came on.

Series 7: 4 plays 19 yards 2:06

This was a drive that looked promising right from the start after a 17-yard completion to Jordy Nelson into Pittsburgh territory but that was the only good thing for the Packers. A three yard loss on a run by Starks and a dropped pass ended any hope of putting a little distance between themselves and the Steelers.

Series 8: 3 plays 0 yards :16

Green Bay looked to be abandoning their run game after three straight incomplete passes from Aaron Rodgers. They had proven they could run against Pittsburgh, but with the Steelers climbing back into the game, Rodgers was trying to do it himself.

Series 9: 8 plays 55 yards 2:56

Another Steelers' turnover game the Packers new life and not a moment too soon. Though Rodgers completed just four-of-eight passes in the drive including another dropped pass from Jordy Nelson, Rodgers was able to complete a big third down pass, again to Nelson, for 38 yards and hit Greg Jennings with his second touchdown catch of the night from eight yards out.

Series 10: 11 plays 70 yards 5:22

Two big passes from Rodgers to Brandon Jennings for 34 yards and James Jones for 21 yards seem to set the tone for a game winning drive for the Packers. They couldn't put the ball in the end zone, but a chip-shot field goal put the Packers up six with just over two minutes to go.

It would prove to be the nail in the coffin for the Steelers as Green Bay's defense stepped up and made sure Ben Roethlisberger didn't have one more miraculous drive under his belt.

There's no question the game's most valuable player belonged to Aaron Roders who threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns completing 24-of-39 passes on the night. He could have easily had more than 400 yards through the air but he'll easily take a Super Bowl ring and a celebration with his teammates over improving his numbers just a little bit more.

Next to all that, what Rodgers may take even more solise in is going back to Green Bay and hearing Packer fans say, "Brett who?"

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