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Packers and Steelers Headed to Super Bowl XLV

Rashard Mendenhall led a devastating Steelers rushing attack in the AFC championship game. Rashard Mendenhall led a devastating Steelers rushing attack in the AFC championship game.

The contestants in Super Bowl XLV are set, as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers became conference champions this weekend. The New York Jets and Chicago Bears were eliminated, so neither will appear in 2011’s NFL championship game. It was an exciting weekend of football with Aaron Rodgers, Rashard Mendenhall, Brian Urlacher, and Ben Roethlisberger all hitting the field to do battle in the AFC and NFC conference finals.

The first game of the afternoon saw the Green Bay Packers head into Soldier Field and defeat the hometown Chicago Bears 21-14. Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings had a huge day, snagging eight catches for 130 yards. The man throwing him the ball, was Rodgers, who ran for a touchdown himself and made a huge tackle to save a touchdown by Brian Urlacher after the Bears linebacker made an interception and headed for the endzone.

The Packers had to win three road games to get to the Super Bowl, a tough task. Now, it seems Rodgers is ready to toss his name into the ring as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks. He has always showed the skills, but now he has a trip to the big game to prove he can win when it counts.

On the Chicago side, the story was backup quarterback Caleb Hanie. After starter Jay Cutler left the game with a knee injury, Hanie came in and made it a game. Cutler struggled to move the ball, but the Bears scored two touchdowns with Hanie at the helm.

The NFC championship made for an intense battle between historic NFC North division rivals, but it was the Packers punching their ticket to the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl appearance where they will try to win the fourth championship for the storied football team.

In the AFC championship, the Jets could not find an answer for the Steelers, particularly the devastating running attack led by Mendenhall. The Steelers led 24-3 at the half, but then something happened. The Jets started to find their legs. The New York defense managed to keep Pittsburgh off the board, while the offense put together a pair of touchdowns.

In the end, the Jets ran out of time, and the Steelers came away with a 24-19 win, and spot in Super Bowl XLV. It will be the franchise’s seventh Super Bowl appearance, having won a league best six championships going back to their first in 1974.

With the New York Jets and Chicago Bears out of the picture, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers can start preparing for their trip to Dallas on February 6. Will Aaron Rodgers begin a legacy of championships, or will Ben Roethlisberger build on his? Will Troy Polamalu be the difference on defense, or will Clay Matthews standout on the other side of the ball? Let the hype begin.


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Rashard Mendenhall is developing into the running back the Steelers thought he would be when they drafted him.
Last modified on Thursday, 11 October 2012 17:04

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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