ARLINGTON, Texas – Big Ben's big mistake has put the Steelers in a hole at Cowboys Stadium.
Backed up on the Steelers' 7, Ben Roethlisberger(notes) underthrew a deep ball intended for Mike Wallace(notes). Nick Collins(notes) picked it off and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown, a score that put the Packers up 14-0.
The Packers' defensive line deserves some credit for the bad pass as it put heat on Roethlisberger near the goal line.
Roethlisberger misfired on a few passes in the first quarter, resulting in punts for the Steelers.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers(notes) missed Jordy Nelson(notes) on the Packers' first long-ball attempt of the Super Bowl. They made up for it on a second deep strike, as Nelson beat Steelers cornerback William Gay(notes) for a 29-yard touchdown with 3:44 left in the first quarter.
Key stat: 20-18; Passing/rushing yards for Roethlisberger
The Packers have the Steelers wobbly, but haven't delivered the knockout punch.
They made Roethlisberger pay for a big second-quarter mistake. Jarrett Bush intercepted a pass at midfield with 4:28 left and Rodgers cashed in four plays later with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, giving Green Bay a 21-3 bulge.
But the Steelers responded when Ben Roethlisberger capped a 7-play, 77-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward. The key play of the Steelers' desperate scoring drive happened on the first snap, when Roethlisberger tossed a 37-yard strike to Antwaan Randle El. The offense kept up the momentum and gave life to the boisterous Steelers fans who are hopeful of a second-half comeback.
Key stat: 6 catches, 93 yards for Steelers veteran wideouts Ward and Randle El.
The Steelers roared back into the Super Bowl with smash mouth football.
It appeared as if Roethlisberger would pick on the Packers' ailing secondary, which suffered a huge blow when Charles Woodson went out with a shoulder injury. Instead, the Steelers rushed the ball on every play of their five-play, 50-yard drive. Rashard Mendenhall capped it with an 8-yard score.
The Steelers missed a great chance to seize the lead when Roethlisberger overthrew Wallace on a bomb on what should've been a go-ahead touchdown.
The Packers had only one first down in the quarter. James Harrison ended one Packers drive with a sack.
The Packers' defense came up with the big plays when it mattered most.
Green Bay forced a Roethlisberger incompletion on fourth down with 49 seconds left and the Packers took a knee to cap their Super Bowl run.
But the biggest play of the game might have been Mendenhall's fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter. Leading 21-17, Clay Matthews hit the Steelers running back and Desmond Bishop recovered. The Packers marched down the field and Jennings scored on an 8-yard pass, his second of the night.
MVP Aaron Rodgers finished 24-of-39 for 304 yards and 3 TD passes.