The stage is set, Pittsburgh versus Green Bay in Dallas for Super Bowl XLV. Both teams held off late comebacks from their opponents in their conference championship games. Green Bay’s defense played great against the Bears and won by a score of 21-14. In the AFC, the Steelers beat the Jets 24-19.
The Bears were down 14-0 at the end of the first half and they would have to come back and win without Jay Cutler. Cutler injured his knee late in the first half and after trying to play a possession in the third quarter, was unable to play the rest of the game. Veteran quarterback Todd Collins replaced Cutler for the Bears but after going 0-4 in his first two possessions, the Bears decided to pull the backup. The Bears went to Caleb Hanie, third-year pro from Colorado State, to take the snaps. Chester Taylor scored for Chicago on a one yard run and that put the Bears down by only 7. With six minutes left, B.J. Raji intercepted a Hanie pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown. The Bears scored again and had a chance to tie up the game late but Hanie threw another interception with seconds left. Aaron Rodgers was 17 for 30 with 2 interceptions and 244 yards passing. This is the Packers fifth time going to the Super Bowl.
For the second year in a row, Rex Ryan and the New York Jets lost in the AFC Championship game. The Steelers were in control in the first half and gained a 24 point lead. However, the New York Jets made it interesting in the second half. They scored 19 unanswered points but couldn’t stop Pittsburgh’s offense on their last drive. The Steelers capped of the win with a first down catch by Antonio Brown. The Jets were stopped by the Steeler defense on a 4th and 1 with 7 minutes left in the game. However, on the next play there was a bad snap and the Jets fell on Big Ben in the endzone for a touchdown. The Jets scored again with 3 minutes left in the game, making it a 5 point game but the offense never saw the ball again. Big Ben was 10 for 19 and threw for 133 yards. Mendenhall carried the Steelers with 121 yards on 27 carries. Ben Roethlisberger will go for his third championship in two weeks.