Steelers set to deal with Packers

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New York Jets 24-19 to win their third trip to the Super Bowl in six years.


    The Packers will be making their first Super Bowl since back-to-back appearances in 1997 and 1998 [GALLO/GETTY] 

    The Green Bay Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

    Both teams held off hard-finishing opponents to win their respective NFL conference championship games on Sunday.

    Green Bay led 14-0 and hung on for a 21-14 win over the Chicago Bears in the NFC decider while Pittsburgh had a 21-7 advantage but was forced into a late goal-line stand before clinching a 24-19 win over the New York Jets in the AFC title game.

    The Packers will be making their first Super Bowl since back-to-back appearances in 1997 and 1998, In Dallas on February 6.

    The Steelers, who have won a record six Super Bowls, are back for their third in six years, having won both the previous in 2006 and 2009.

    Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay quarterback ran for a touchdown and made a saving tackle, while B.J. Raji returned an interception for a score and Sam Shields had two interceptions in the Packers win.

    Chicago almost staged an unlikely comeback thanks to Caleb Hanie, third-string quarterback after starter Jay Cutler was injured and Number 2 Todd Collins was pulled after an ineffective showing.

    Rodgers threw passes of 22 and 26 yards to Tim Jennings to open an 84-yard drive on the opening series of the game.

    He later hit Jordy Nelson with a 22-yarder at the Bears 2-yard line, then ran in after withstanding a hard hit from Chicago safety Danieal Manning, taking the Packers ahead 7-0 inside four minutes.

    In the third quarter, Rodgers went back to work, connecting with Jordy Nelson for 21 yards and Greg Jennings for 20.

    After a pass interference call on Chicago's Tim Jennings, the Packers had a first down at the 8 and looked like putting the game to bed.

    But on third-and-6, Brian Urlacher, Bears' linebacker intercepted a pass by Rodgers and had just the QB to beat for a long TD return.

    But Rodgers got in Urlacher's way and grabbed just enough of his legs to pull him down at the Bears 45.

    Still, it kept the game at 14-0 and Chicago cut that to 14-7 early in the fourth quarter after third-stringer Hanie came into the game, setting up Chester Taylor's run from the 1-yard line.

    Hanie had a chance to tie the game but threw a pass straight to Packers defensive lineman Raji, who lumbered 18 yards into the end zone for a touchdown to give the Packers a 21-7 lead.

    But Hanie wasn't finished. He threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett to again cut the lead to seven points with 4:43 left.

    The Bears forced a punt and got the ball back with under 3 minutes left.

    Hanie drove the Bears to the Green Bay 29-yard line, but then threw a fourth-down interception to Shields, the rookie's second of the game.

    The Packers hung on for victory in this 182nd meeting of the NFL's most played rivalry and will be playing for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named for their former coach, in their fifth Super Bowl.

    Steelers v Jets

    In the later game, Pittsburgh had to withstand an even more determined comeback bid, leaving the New York Jets still looking for their first Super Bowl appearance since 1969.

    Pittsburgh set the early tone with a 66-yard march that took up the first nine minutes, with Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback displaying his scrambling skills on several plays, including a key 12-yard run on third-and-12.

    Rashard Mendenhall reached the ball over the goal line from the 1, the final of a 15-play drive.

    But Pittsburgh also lost rookie center Maurkice Pouncey with an ankle injury, leaving it with just one backup offensive lineman.

    It was the Jets who were struggling to block, though. And catch, with the usually sure-handed Jerricho Cotchery making a key third-down drop.

    Mendenhall found seams to the left, right or up the middle. His 35-yard sprint in the second quarter led to Shaun Suisham's 20-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

    It became 17-0 as Roethlisberger scooted into the end zone from the 2.

    Just 47 seconds later, Ike Taylor sacked Mark Sanchez, Jets quarterback, forcing a fumble that William Gay ran 22 yards for a 24-0 lead.

    A New York field goal made it 24-3 at halftime, and that deficit proved too big for the Jets to make up, even though they made it interesting.

    A 45-yard TD pass from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes, the hero of Pittsburgh's Super Bowl victory two years ago, made it 24-10 in the third quarter and breathed life into the game.

    In the fourth quarter, Roethlisberger fumbled and was tackled in the end zone for a safety that made it 24-12, and on the next drive, Sanchez found Cotchery on a short pass, making it 24-19.

    However the Jets never got the ball back, with Roethlisberger twice passing for first down _ the second time to Antonio Brown to seal the game.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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