Pittsburgh fans around the world can take solace in this fact, there’s no defense for the perfect pass.
Aaron Rodgers can sling it. There was little doubt that if the Packers won last night he would be the Superbowl 45 MVP. Chalk it up to momentum, veteran leadership with promising young talent, and of course a great defense of their own — but now we can admit that the Green Bay Packers were unquestionably the best team in the NFL at the end of the 2010 season.
The Packers boasted perhaps the most complete team I’ve seen since the 2007 Patriots. Outstanding offense, incredible defense, tremendous coaching, they overcame copious injuries… and they got hot at the exact right time heading into the playoffs. Overall, Green Bay had a top 5 offense according to Pro Football Focus, even with a lack luster running game for the bulk of the season. But make no mistake about it — Aaron Rodgers and his receiving core were downright deadly this season. As unstoppable as they looked last night, just imagine if ~5 perfect passes weren’t dropped or glanced off the receivers hands.
Rodgers was frighteningly on point last night, just like during his post season that basically started in Green Bay against our very own NY Giants.
The Packer defense was officially ranked #13 overall by PFF, but that number was dragged down by a porous run defense and the ranking severely underestimates the Packers passing defense… ranked #3 in the league for 2010. And that’s exactly what it looked like last night — an outstanding passing defense that was willing to let the Steelers run the ball but not gash big yardage through the air. Any attempt to do so was rewarded with a defended pass or even a turnover. The Packers of course converted 21 points off those risks from Big Ben, which was a margin too steep to overcome for the Steelers as it turned out.
So what does this have to do with the Giants?
Well, think back to Green Bay’s very first win-and-in game against the Giants. The 45-17 win over Big Blue at home basically set the tone for the Packers post season and as it turned out, their impressive championship run. Think back to those crisp, absolutely perfect passes from Rodgers. We saw the exact same thing not only last night from the MVP, but each and every week of the playoffs.
Think back to the Giants secondary getting gashed to the tune of 404 yards through the air. I have no doubt the same thing was in store for the Steelers last night but several of Rodgers’ passes were either dropped or went right through the hands of his receivers…not once or twice but ALL NIGHT. Right up to and including the 3-and-out before the Steelers got the ball back for their 2 minute drill. If the Packer receiving core makes a few more catches, Rodgers goes over 400 yards once more.
And I vividly remember the Giants secondary in coverage, good coverage in fact, where anybody but Rodgers would not have been able to get over the top the way he did. In fact Rodgers made it look effortless, easy. He dropped it in for his receivers PERFECTLY. Just out of reach of defenders, just in reach of his receivers. Consistently, repeatedly… deadly.
So how feel better about this — as good as the Giants defense was this season, as great as the Steeler defense consistently is, it really comes down to this: There’s no defense for the perfect pass.