Green Bay Packers lead half way through Super Bowl 

Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and Nick Collins leaped into the end zone to finish off a 37-yard interception return Sunday, giving the Green Bay Packers a 21-10 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers at halftime of the Super Bowl.

New to this big stage, the NFC champion Packers sure got comfortable fast.

Not the championship-steeled guys from Pittsburgh, whose first half was marred by injuries and turnovers. They could commiserate with national anthem singer Christina Aguilera, who flubbed one of her lines.

Green Bay cracked the game open early, jumping ahead 14-0 with touchdowns on consecutive plays: a 29-yard touchdown catch by Jordy Nelson, then Collins' interception.

Rodgers stretched the lead to 21-3 by drilling a 21-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. The ball whistled past safety Ryan Clark, with Jennings making a tough catch look easy just before getting popped by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. That drive also was set up by an interception, a pickoff at midfield by Jarrett Bush.

Ben Roethlisberger's miserable first half turned a little better at the end.

Taking over deep in his own territory after Jennings' touchdown, Roethlisberger threw a 37-yard completion to Antwaan Randle El. That started a seven-play, 77-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown catch to former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward.

Getting closer was nice, but Pittsburgh couldn't savor it too much because Green Bay was getting the ball to open the second half. The Packers won the toss but coach Mike McCarthy deferred the ball until the second half.

Injuries messed things up for both teams.

The Steelers saw right tackle Flozell Adams (shoulder), cornerback Bryant McFadden (hip) and receiver Emmanuel Sanders (foot) all miss time. McFadden and Adams eventually returned.

Packers receiver Donald Driver hurt an ankle. X-rays showed no break, but his return was questionable. Cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Sam Shields both went into the locker room with shoulder injuries just before halftime.

Green Bay has led by at least 11 points in all four of its games this postseason. The Packers also have this stat in their favor: Teams returning an interception for a touchdown are 10-0.

The Steelers seem to have a big advantage in fan support, with tens of thousands of "Terrible Towels" twirling whenever they have reason to cheer. But that's not much of liability for Green Bay — as a wild-card team, the Packers have played every game on the road this postseason, so they're used to hostile crowds.

And they do have several thousand loyalists among the crowd that's expected to top 100,000. There were chants of "Go Pack Go" shortly before Nelson's touchdown and after Jennings scored.

The first Super Bowl held at $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium came following a week of ice and snow that caused all sorts of problems. Hopes for an uneventful gameday were ruined when several sections of temporary seats — holding about 1,250 people — were deemed unsafe.

Celebs were everywhere: from former President George W. Bush to baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez, who was seen having popcorn shoveled into his mouth by actress Cameron Diaz. Hollywood stars John Travolta, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas were in attendance, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson was seated next to new Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

Football stars were sprinkled around, too. The newest Hall of Fame class, chosen Saturday, took part in the pregame coin toss, with Deion Sanders handling the flip.

The Steelers were seeking their third Super Bowl title in six years. They came in with the most championships, six. This was their eighth appearance, tying the Dallas Cowboys for the most.

The Packers, a sixth seed, were seeking their fourth championship. The last came with Brett Favre at quarterback, in January 1997.

About The Author

Jamie Aron

Pin It

Speaking of...

Latest in Oakland Raiders & NFL

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation