A continuation of the Legacy of Champions series. Articles that chronicle the 13 Packer championships. If you’re just joining us, read about all the great Packer championships by clicking here.
The 2010 Packers were a group of scrappers who lived by a never-say-die mantra. For most teams, one and done hangs in the back of their mind from the start of the playoffs on. The Packers had a much harder row to hoe on their way to their 13th NFL championship.
The 2010 team leveraged a 10-6 record to eek their way into the playoffs.
In addition to an early loss against the Bears, the Packers suffered back to back overtime losses to the Redskins and Dolphins. The eventual number one seeded Falcons knocked off the Packers in November. Then, in back to back games in which Matt Flynn replaced Rodgers and then started, the Packers lost to the Lions and the Patriots.
With 13 players on IR and Rodgers suffering not one, but two, concussions, the Packers were fighting an uphill battle all season. In a game against Minnesota, the Packers started the game with five defensive linemen. During warmups, they lost Cullen Jenkins to a hamstring injury. Then, seven plays into the game, Ryan Pickett went down with a knee injury. The Pack was left a rookie and a pair of two year players in the trenches.
Statistically, it was a crazy year. The Packers relied on the pass more than usual as their leading rusher, Brandon Jackson had only rushed for 703 and their second leading rusher was Aaron Rodgers with 356 yards rushing. John Kuhn stepped up in every way possible and the Packers’ blocking back carried the ball for 281 yards on the season. James Starks had only added 101 yards during the season but came on in the playoffs to contribute some key yards.
Road to the Super Bowl
The road to Super Bowl 45 began two weeks before the actual playoffs. Still in the hunt for a playoff berth, the Packers hopes where hanging by a thread. They needed a win against the Giants and another against the division leading Chicago Bears to make it in.
The game against the Giants was the first of the do or die games of the 2010 season and the Packers responded in grand style. They sent the Giants home with an embarrassing 45-17 loss. The Packers only held a seven point lead at halftime but exploded after the half.
In the final game of the season the Packers, coming off a big win against the Giants, faced their arch-rivals, the Chicago Bears. While the healthy Bears had already secured a playoff birth, the Packers needed to come up with a big win at the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field to make it into the playoffs.
In this game, two high-powered offenses faced each other. However, In the end, it would be two stiff defense that would make the highlight reels. The score was still just 0-3 Bears until the end of the third quarter when the Packers were knocking on the door. However a muffed lateral by Brandon Jackson stalled the drive and forced the Packers to settle for a field goal. The Packers’ only touchdown came on a one yard pass to Lee but it was enough. Nick Collins sealed the win with an interception as the Packers knocked off their arch rivals and earned a spot in the playoffs.
Wildcard Round vs Eagles
In the wildcard round the Packers contained a dangerous Michael Vick as they held the Eagles to just 16 points. The Packers offense and rookie James Starks took advantage of a suspect Eagles run defense. Starks set a new record rushing for 123 yards and Tom Crabtree, despite only having four catches all season scored on a seven yard touchdown reception. Jones and Jackson added touchdowns and the Packers moved on another step in the playoffs.
Divisional Round: Packers vs Falcons
The win against the Eagles set up a Packer showdown with the number one seed in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay’s defense was a holy terror and the Falcons never knew what hit them.
Matt Ryan had only been sacked nine times the entire regular season but the Packer defense dropped him on his back five times that night. The Packers recovered two fumbles and Tramon Williams intercepted two passes, one for a 70 yard return for a touchdown.
On the flip side of the ball, after going scoreless in the first quarter, Aaron Rodgers and company scored 48 points in three quarters of football setting a franchise playoff scoring record.
The 48-21 win placed the Packers in the NFC championship and set up a rematch with their old friends the Chicago Bears.
NFC Championship vs Bears
The Packers started off the game with an 84 yard drive for a touchdown on their first drive. In the second quarter a Starks run would put the Packers up 14-0 at the end of the half.
The Packers held the Bears scoreless through three quarters and nearly scored a touchdown in every one of the four quarters of play. The only thing that derailed their third quarter touchdown was a rare Rodgers interception by Brian Urlacher, killing a drive that was rapidly marching toward the goal line.
Following halftime, Jay Cutler threw one pass and was pull from the game with a knee injury. The Bears second string QB Todd Collins threw four incomplete passes before the Bears called on third string QB Caleb Hanie to lead their offense. The third stringer didn’t do too bad completing 13 of 20 passes for 153 yards. He led the Bears to a touchdown that would bring the score to 14-7 early in the fourth quarter. However, he also made a colossal mistake that he will probably forever be known for (at least in Chicago). Somehow, Hanie missed 300 lb nose tackle B.J. Raji dropping back into pass coverage. He tossed an interception to Raji who walked it into the endzone for the score and the opportunity to try on Aaron Rodgers’ championship belt.
Green Bay closed out the NFC with a 21-14 win over their long-time rivals and, against all odds, returned to the NFL Championship game.
Super Bowl XLV vs Steelers
The first quarter of the Super Bowl gave Packer fans a taste of what the team would accomplish both offensively and defensively. Within the first quarter the offense had scored a touchdown on a 29 yard pass from Rodgers to Nelson. The Packer defense followed that up with a touchdown of their own as Nick Collins intercepted a Roethlisberger pass and weaved 37 yards for a score of his own, which put the Packers up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Aaron hit Jennings before the half for a 21 yard touchdown and the Packers led 21-10 at the half.
The injury bug continued to plague the Packers all the way to the Super Bowl. In the first half Charles Woodson went down with a broken collarbone and spent the entire second half in a sling.
Pittsburgh put some pressure on the Packers early in the second half, scoring a touchdown and narrowing the lead to 21-17. But, the Packers answered every challenge, adding a touchdown and field goal in the fourth quarter to maintain the lead.
With under two minutes to go, and trailing by six points, the Steelers attempted to drive for the go-ahead score. Starting on their own 13 yard line, and facing a Woodson-less Packers defense, they began a drive that went absolutely nowhere. The Packers made a huge stop when it counted and completed the long journey by bringing the coveted Lombardi trophy back to the town where the great coach made a name for himself.
That wraps up our series on the 13 championships held by the greatest team to march onto an NFL field. The only question that remains is…
Will this be the year the Packers bring home #14?