Nelson’s Super game tops Packers’ great Max McGee
Monday, February 7, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jordy Nelson didn’t let a few bobbles stand in the way of a breakout performance in the biggest game of his life.
Yes, the third-year pro from Kansas State dropped a few passes that hit his hands, but he more than made up for it: nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown in Green Bay’s 31-25 Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
“It isn’t sinking in yet,” Nelson said. “Hopefully, (I’ll) see a bunch of highlights someday down the road and realize that is was me. I tried as hard as possible to forget that is was the Super Bowl and treat it like a normal game.”
In the Packers run, Nelson had 12 catches for 146 yards and a TD in wins over the Eagles, the Falcons and the Bears. He nearly matched that output against the Steelers, with his 140 yards topping Max McGee’s Packers Super Bowl receiving record of 138 yards back in 1967.
The kid from Manhattan, Kan., was all over the field at Cowboys Stadium, snaring passes from Aaron Rodgers — including a 29-yarder in the right corner of the end zone that gave the Packers a 7-0 lead.
He and Rodgers also hooked up on a 38-yard catch-and-run to the Steelers’ 3 that set up the TD that put the Packers ahead 28-17 early in the fourth quarter.
Nelson managed to avoid AP Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu most of the time.
“There wasn’t anything we were trying to single out or go away from, we just needed to know where he was,” Nelson said. “Aaron made great decisions all day.”
Nelson and James Jones are the backups for Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, but Nelson came on strong at the end of the season.
On his TD catch, the 6-foot-2, 217-pound Nelson said, “Aaron gave me a little signal if it was press (coverage). It was actually a screen play but he checked to go to a route.”
Added Rodgers: “He made a great catch, and he made a big play for us there in the fourth quarter. He’s just a great teammate, and a great player.”
ROONEY REACTION: It’s rare that the Rooney family returns from these Super Bowl trips without a little extra something in their suitcases — specifically, the Lombardi Trophy.
On their team’s eighth trip to the Super Bowl, the Rooneys came up short for only the second time. They still hold the record with six championships.
“Just said, ’thanks,”’ Steelers president Art Rooney II said when asked what he told the players. “You know, they worked hard, we appreciated the effort they put in all year. They got us close to winning a seventh championship and that’s pretty impressive.”
By doing things “The Steeler Way,” the Rooneys have built what is arguably the most stable franchise in the NFL over the past four decades. A win Sunday would’ve given the Steelers three titles in six years and would have put them close to cementing another dynasty — one to pair with the one that captured four titles in six years in the 1970s.
Could still happen.
“I feel good about our organization,” Rooney said. “We lost to a good team and a great franchise. My hat’s off to those guys for what they accomplished this year. We just fell a little bit short.”
SUPER PACKERS: With Super Bowl win No. 4, the Packers moved into fourth place for most wins in the championship game that began in 1967.
The Steelers hold the record with six Super Bowl wins, and have now lost twice in the NFL title game.
Green Bay has a total of 13 championships with the nine they won before the Super Bowl era. The Bears are next with nine overall NFL titles.
Also, Green Bay becomes the second No. 6 seed to win the Super Bowl, joining the Steelers who won after the 2005 season.
DOM’S DAY: Eight teams. A quarter century. More job titles and close calls than he wants to remember.
Finally, Dom Capers can be called a Super Bowl champion.
The Packers defensive coordinator, long considered one of the best X-and-O guys in the game, parlayed his first trip to the Super Bowl into his first championship Sunday.
“Twenty-five years to get here, and it’s nice to be able to finish it off,” Capers said. “It’s great to be able to take the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.”
Capers’ game plan took a hit when the Packers lost cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Sam Shields to injury for significant stretches, and safety Nick Collins for a bit when he needed intravenous fluids.
No panic. Just adjustments.
“We had to play more zone coverage in the second half because we didn’t want to lock some of the other guys up into one-on-one situations,” Capers said.
And so, the 60-year-old lifetime coach won his title. He coached the Carolina Panthers to the NFL title game in the 1990s and also coached the Houston Texans in their expansion years. Around that, he spent time as a defensive coach in Jacksonville, Miami, New Orleans, New England and, yes, Pittsburgh.
“You have an appreciation for it when you have been doing it for 25 years and this is your first one,” Capers said.
WIN WIN FOR WYNN: Even before his Packers won the Super Bowl, defensive lineman Jarius Wynn had reason to celebrate: He was present for the birth of his son at a Dallas-area hospital Sunday morning, just hours before the game.
“Great day in my life. I’m flying high right now,” Wynn said. “I got the Super Bowl win and had a child this morning. It’s a blessing to be in this position.
Wynn said coach Mike McCarthy allowed him to stay with his wife at the hospital last night after she went into labor.
Eventually, he said, he will show the ring to his son, and tell him: “This is what happened on your birthday, baby. That’s all I’m going to say.”
RECORD NUMBERS: The Super Bowl record crowd at Cowboys Stadium didn’t quite happen.
The crowd for the Packers-Steelers was 91,060 paying attendees, or 103,219 counting “credentialed attendees.”
The record remains the 103,985 fans who watched the Steelers beat the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in the Rose Bowl on Jan., 20, 1980. Next is the 103,667 fans who watched the Redskins beat the Dolphins 27-17 on Jan. 30, 1983, also at the Rose Bowl. The two other 100,000-plus crowds were at the Rose Bowl, too, at the 1977 and 1987 Super Bowls.
SUPER NUGGETS: The Packers’ two touchdowns in 24 seconds in the first quarter was the fastest pair of TDs scored by one team in a Super Bowl since Dallas scored two in 18 seconds after scoring two others in 15 seconds earlier in the 1993 Super Bowl. ... The Steelers and Packers set a Super Bowl record for least rushing attempts with a combined 36 — 13 by Green Bay, 23 by Pittsburgh. ... Among Super Bowl records tied were fewest turnovers by a team (zero by the Packers, shared with 17 other teams); most points in the first quarter by a team, Packers 14 (with six other teams); and largest lead at end of the first quarter, 14 by Packers (Miami and Oakland are the others). ... The Packers are the 18th team to hold the lead from start to finish, but the first to go wire-to-wire in 10 seasons. ... The 25 points scored by the Steelers are the fourth most by a losing Super Bowl team, and their 387 totals yards is the fifth-most by a losing team.
AP National Writer Eddie Pells contributed to this report.
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