Sunday, January 23, 2011
Packers vs Bears, NFC championship recap
The Green Bay Packers will be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl on February 6th against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Writing the previous sentence sans all-caps was quite an accomplishment for any Packers fan, so I am proud of myself.)
In what was easily the biggest football game ever played at Soldier Field, the Packers prevailed over the Chicago Bears and their third string quarterback Caleb Hanie. After the first drive it seemed as if the Packers were going to run away with this game just as they did last week in Atlanta, but the offense stalled after scoring two touchdowns and went into the fourth quarter leading 14-0. With the Packers defense dominating Chicago up to that point, Packers fans were expecting to coast to an easy victory over their hated rival. Hanie wouldn't let that happen though; he led the Bears on two scoring drives to make it a game at 21-14. Chicago had the ball at midfield with two minutes remaining, and images of the NFC championship game against the New York Giants started to fill the minds of Packers fans. But Hanie threw an interception to Sam Shields with less than a minute to go, and the game was sealed in thrilling fashion for Green Bay.
The play of the game was when 345 pound (on a good day) BJ Raji intercepted a pass from Hanie and ran it back 18 yards for a touchdown, giving the Packers a 21-7 lead late in the fourth quarter. The player of the game, however, had to be the rookie Shields. Shields had four tackles, one sack, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in the game, with the other interception coming at the Green Bay three yard line with less than a minute left in the first half. Shields played years beyond his age, owning the last minute of each half.
After winning three straight road games in the playoffs, the Packers will travel to Arlington, Texas to play in the Super Bowl. The Packers, who have kept winning despite having 15 players on injured reserve (every other team in the history of the NFL with that many players on injured reserve has failed to win even half of their games), will be the first six seed to represent the NFC in the playoffs.
(Please read this next sentence as if it were capitalized.)
The Green Bay Packers will be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl on February 6th!