ShareThis Page

Packers get boost from onside kick

| Monday, Dec. 21, 2009

Green Bay's offense already was on one heck of a roll, and the last thing it needed was a boost of confidence.

Still, the Packers got a boost when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called for an onside kick with his team winning by two points and less than four minutes remaining in Sunday's game.

"The onside kick just showed that they really couldn't stop our offense," Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.

Rodgers led his team down the field in less than two minutes and scored what appeared to be the game-winning touchdown when he hooked up with James Jones for a 24-yard score. The Packers converted a two-point attempt for a 36-30 lead.

The Steelers offense, which also couldn't be stopped, bailed Tomlin and the defense out when it marched down the field and scored the winning touchdown as time expired. Jeff Reed's extra point gave the Steelers a 37-36 victory.

The talk of the Green Bay locker room following the game was Tomlin's decision to call an onside kick.

"It was a gutsy call for one," Rodgers said. "I don't think they felt like they could hold up. We got on a roll there and were scoring touchdowns."

Actually, the No. 1-ranked defense in the league the past two years couldn't stop the Packers the entire game, and the majority of the damage came through the air.

Rodgers threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns and picked apart the Steelers' much-maligned secondary, forcing Tomlin to attempt the gimmick play with his team ahead, 30-28.

"Greg Jennings said the same thing when they did that," said Packers receiver Donald Driver. "It was like they knew they couldn't stop our offense. After we got on a roll, they realized they didn't want us on the field at all."

Even the Packers' defense, which allowed 537 total yards and a team-record 503 passing yards to Ben Roethlisberger, got a burst of confidence from the onside kick.

"We would like to think that," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "Anytime you kick it onside and it doesn't go your way, we would like to think that there is some kind of implication there."

The Steelers had no answer for the Packers' passing game.

After a slow start and some drops, the Packers started to impose their will on the Steelers' secondary midway through the first quarter.

"We felt confident throwing the football," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "That is why our passing numbers were where they were."

Green Bay called 48 pass plays and only 12 rushing attempts, and three of those runs were scrambles by Rodgers.

"The one area we wanted to attack them was matchups outside," Rodgers said.

Rodgers completed passes for 83, 49, 27 and 24 yards. In the first quarter alone, Rodgers went only 4 of 12 but threw for 148 yards.

"We were able to do exactly what we wanted to do and that was make big plays," Driver said. "We just came up a play short."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.