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Green Bay Packers score team-record 21 points off turnovers in Super Bowl

Feb. 6, 2011
 
Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins returns an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette
Green Bay Packers safety Nick Collins returns an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

Turning points

Playoff games in which the Green Bay Packers scored the most points as the result of turnovers.

Pts. Opponent Date
21 Steelers Feb. 6, 2011
20 Giants Dec. 31, 1961
20 Falcons Jan. 15, 2011
17 Cardinals Jan. 8, 1983
14 Giants Dec. 10, 1939
14 49ers Jan. 4, 1997

Not half bad

Quarterbacks with the highest passer rating in the first half of a Super Bowl (minimum 10 attempts).

Rate Player SB No.
146.6 Steve Young 29
145.3 Doug Williams 22
138.7 Joe Montana 24
138.2 Joe Montana 19
138.2 Brett Favre 31
136.0 Joe Theismann 17
135.5 Troy Aikman 27
134.6 Aaron Rodgers 45

The record book

♦ The 13 carries by the Packers ties the fewest by a Super Bowl winning team. The Rams had 13 carries in their 23-16 win over the Titans in Super Bowl 34.

♦ Jordy Nelson had nine catches for 140 yards, breaking Max McGee's team record for receiving yards in a Super Bowl. McGee had 138 yards in Super Bowl I.

More

A turnover-forcing defense and an opportunistic offense guided the Green Bay Packers to their 13th NFL championship.

Dom Capers’ defense forced three turnovers and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense cashed in for 21 points as Green Bay outlasted Pittsburgh 31-25 to win Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas.

For Green Bay, it’s the most points they’ve generated as the result of turnovers in team playoff history.

Two takeaways in the first half helped stake the Packers to a 21-3 lead. The hat trick, coming on the first play of the fourth quarter, swung momentum back Green Bay’s way as Pittsburgh was gunning for the lead.

Nick Collins secured the first steal. The safety drew a bead on a Ben Roethlisberger throw intended for Mike Wallace and Collins weaved 37 yards to a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with three minutes, 20 seconds left in the opening period.

Howard Green hit Roethlisberger as he threw sending the pass off target. The quarterback hit was the only stat credited to the mammoth defensive lineman in the final statistics.

Jarrett Bush picked off Roethlisberger in the second quarter. The defensive back jumped in front of Wallace for his first career postseason interception with 4:28 left in the first half.

Green Bay went up 21-3 four plays later. Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for 4, Jordy Nelson for 16 and James Starks ran for 12. On third down, Rodgers found Jennings in the end zone with a 21-yard laser.

Fast forward to the end of the third quarter. Down 21-17, the Steelers started at the Packers’ 41-yard line after a penalty forced Tim Masthay into a second punt that traveled just 32 yards.

Rashard Mendenhall carried for 8, but was met by Clay Matthews in the backfield on second down. Matthews knocked the ball free and fellow linebacker Desmond Bishop returned it to the Green Bay 45.

This time Rodgers needed eight plays to reach the end zone. The big gainer was a 38-yarder to Nelson on third down that reached the Steelers 2. After taking a sack, Rodgers threw to Greg Jennings for a score and a 28-17 advantage.

Twice before had the Packers scored 20 points as the result of turnovers in the playoffs.

Interceptions by Ray Nitschke, Hank Gremminger and Jess Whittenton and a fumble recovery by Forrest Gregg led to 20 points in Green Bay’s 37-0 blanking of the Giants in the 1961 NFL championship game.

Last month, interceptions by Tramon Williams and fumble recoveries by Mathews and Bishop triggered 20 points in a 48-21 rout of the Falcons.

A fine first half

It’s official. Rodgers can be mentioned along with the likes of Joe Montana and Troy Aikman—at least when it comes to first-half Super Bowl performances.

Green Bay’s starting quarterback still trails those Hall of Famers when it comes to championship rings. But Rodgers laid down two quarters of football that rank with the best in Super Bowl history.

Rodgers completed 11 of 16 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 134.6. He became eighth player to compile a rating of better than 130 in the first half of a Super Bowl based on a minimum of 10 attempts.

Rodgers got hot after completing just one of his first five throws. He hit 10 of his last 11 before the break including touchdown passes to Nelson and Jennings.

First halves have been good to Rodgers this postseason. He earned ratings of 125.0, 144.8 and 73.2 against the Eagles, Falcons and Bears, respectively.

Six of Rodgers’ nine TDs were first or second quarter throws. His lone interception came on pass that caromed off Donald Driver’s foot into the arms of Bears linebacker Lance Briggs.

In four playoff games this season, Rodgers first-half totals were 52 completions in 70 attempts for 638 yards and a rating of 135.6.

Eric Goska is a Press-Gazette correspondent, a Packers historian and the author of “Green Bay Packers: A Measure of Greatness,” a statistical history of the Packers. E-mail him at aegoska@sbcglobal.net.

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