There are very few moments when the planets align in the universe and Mother Irony rears her ugly head. I’d like to believe Sunday night’s game was one of those moments. I hope the Packers realize that, and it possibly rubs a little salt deeper into the playoff wound of defeat from the Giants.
Let’s go back almost a year to Super Bowl XLV. The Steelers just got done dominating the third quarter and was kicking and clawing their way back into this football game. They trailed the Packers 21-17 at the start of the 4th quarter and were driving to take the lead (or at least get within 1). Mendenhall took that ball during a 2nd and 2 and received a huge hit from Clay Mathews right on the football. The ball popped out of Mendenhall’s grasp, Desmond Bishop scooped up the loose ball and the Packers’ offense scored on a Greg Jennings 8-yard touchdown reception making the score 28-17. The Steelers lost most if not all of their momentum. Roethlisberger and the offense would get close, but fail to drive the field in the final 1:30 of the game.
Ugh, a year later and it’s still painful to think about it let alone talk about it.
Let’s check back in to present day minus 36 hours. Much like their SB foes from a year ago, the Packers found themselves in a hole. The team was ‘off’ Sunday night. The receivers were having a tough time catching the ball, and Rodgers couldn’t do anything with it. The defense could only hope that Manning would not connect on his passes so they wouldn’t have to try and tackle. The Packers were known to have a weak defense in the secondary and the Giants exploited it, just like the Packers did to a suspect Steelers secondary in SB XLV. The Packers, much like their SB XLV losing counterparts were riddled with turnovers for most of the game – opportunities squandered on their own but turned into points by the Giants. Down by ten points in the fourth quarter with a little over seven minutes to play, Ryan Grant – a solid running back for the Packers who only fumbled once all season (much like Mendenhall with his two from 2010) – caught the rock and fought hard for extra yards trying to make a play. On his way down from a hit by Aaron Ross, Kenny Phillips knocked the ball loose and the Giants recover. The Giants would score after the recovery and pretty much ice the game there, even though the Packers would score one more time to get back to within 10.
The similarities are eerie and probably more loosely coincidental than cold irony. But, it gives me a little satisfaction to see Green Bay end up on the other side of the fumble…. the other end of a crushing loss when too many uncharacteristic things took place, much like when the Steelers squandered their own chances and came up short in their pursuit of another Lombardi. It doesn’t put a trophy in our hands as Steelers Nation, but this fan will give a little chuckle and a shake of the head over how this crazy game can just turn around and bite you right in your frozen tights.