The Green Bay Packers had to deal with injuries all season long, so it was fitting that they conquer the injury bug one more time and
win Super Bowl XLV 31-25 over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas.
The Packers lost wide receiver Donald Driver (ankle sprain) in the first half and defensive back Charles Woodson just before halftime (broken collarbone). The Packers also played a good stretch in the second half without Sam Shields (shoulder) before he was able to return to action. Nick Collins also left for awhile with cramping.
But the Packers persevered. When it looked like the Packers had lost all of the momentum in the second half and the Steelers were making their comeback, the defense forced a key turnover and Aaron Rodgers turned it into points for the Packers.
Dating back to the start of the season, the Packers entered the game without six of their preferred starters. When Woodson and Driver went down, the Packers had to play the second half without 8 preferred starters. Yet they still found a way.
All told, the Packers had a total of 12 stgarters miss a total of 86 games. Throughout the entire roster, 31 players missed a total of 180 games.
Woodson knew at halftime that he wouldn’t be coming out for the second half on the field. He tried to talk to the team in the locker room at halftime and broke down in tears.
Woodson said it didn’t make things easier, but it seemed fitting that the Packers would win the Super Bowl while having to deal with the injuries they’ve been dealing with all season.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said the Packers had to scrap most of their defensive game plan in the second half, using reserves Jarrett Bush and Pat Lee in place of Woodson and Shields.
The Packers lost momentum and doubt was creeping into everyone’s mind about the outcome of the game. But the defense found a way to reach back and pull out one more stop late, much like they’ve done all season long to preserve the victory.
The offense deserves a lot of credit, but it’s the defense that’s been there all year long and they were there again on Sunday, just in the nick of time.