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Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Recap: "The Whole World Knows You're a Loser"

Well, the original title for this blog was Damn it all to Hell. But a good night's sleep (during which I coincidentally dreamt about the Apocalypse) has calmed me down a bit. Here goes:

You can't lose the turnover battle 3-0 and expect to win the game. Period. Furthermore, you can't give up 21 points off  turnovers, get none for yourself and expect to win the game.

The Steelers gave the Packers a Pick 6 and the ball at mid-field twice.

Of my two main keys to the game, the Steelers did a great job of protecting Ben Roethlisberger. He was sacked only once and generally given time to make the plays he needed to make. Doug Legursky's name was hardly mentioned, which is a huge credit to him. Where the Steelers failed was their inability to get enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers. They had only one sack and failed to ever fully disrupt Rodgers rhythm. More than anything, it was his receivers

Rodgers (and more so his receivers) weren't perfect, but the Steelers defense failed to force the issue at all during the game. They never hit Rodgers as he threw, they never tipped his passes, they never even got many clean hits on him after he threw the ball. Every mistake Rodgers made (and they were few) were mistakes he or his teammates made. It was a dropped pass or an overthrown ball. Rodgers maybe threw is a bit too hard or was just throwing it away. Not once did the Steelers force Rodgers into a mistake.

For that, the Packers O-Line deserves a ton of credit for giving Rodgers the time he needed. But more than anything, Rodgers himself deserves credit for knowing exactly how much time he had in the pocket and not allowing himself to make any big mistakes by holding the ball too long. He was aware of the pass rush at all times, and never let the Steelers defense force him into a bad decision.

And in spite of all of this, Ben still had the ball at his own 13, 1:59 to go and down 6 points. It was a dream scenario that I'm sure most Steelers fans would have gladly taken had they been offered before kick-off.
But as I said before, Ben just didn't look comfortably enough to pull of another game winning drive in the Super Bowl. Their 2nd and 6 play was a perfect example of the whole game. People looked confused and unsure. Ben forced a lot of throws in this game (one of which led to his 2nd INT) and 3rd and 4th down were more examples of that. I wish they could have that drive back. I wish Ben could have just scrambled for a first there and then seen what happened next.

The fact that the Steelers had a drive to win the game was something of a miracle by itself, and Tomlin deserves credit for bringing them back out of their 18 point hole. But in the end, the defense was neutralized. We didn't hear the name Harrison, Polamalu, Hood or Woodley hardly at all. And that's a credit to the Packers. Eric pretty much nailed on the head. In a one-game series, it all comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes. And clearly, the Packers were the better team.
It'll take a little while to get over this one. Nothing compared to 2002, of course, but any time you come so close to the top only to fall away at the last step it hurts. Sometimes I wonder whether or not it's actually more painful to climb that ladder all the way to the top before falling rather than just slipping after taking the first step. Sure, you always want to go farther in the tournament, but the dissapointment is etched darker in your memory. The closer you come, the harder it is to forget. 

But that's sports. It produces the highest of highs and lowest of lows. And you being denied yours gives someone else theirs. That's the beauty of the thing and you have to respect it. For all of you true Packers fans out there, sincere congratulations. I know what it feels like when your team wins it all, and it's one of those euphoric feelings you'll never forget.

Thank goodness KTVU chose to broadcast a one-hour documentary on the Giants World Series an hour after the game ended. At least I was reminded of what that euphoria feels like.

Thankfully, KB was there to bring me back to reality.

KB: "I thought you said you didn't want the Steelers to take away from the Giants winning the World Series."

Me: "Ugh, that's just what losers say to make themselves feel better."

KB: "Well, you wrote that on your blog, so now the whole world knows you're a loser."

But not all is lost. I have half an Ike's sandwich in the fridge, one more disc of Modern Family to watch and 180 days of bliss just around the corner. Plus, Michael will always be there. So things are looking up...