The Packers defense came together to watch a horror movie early Wednesday: The film from last year’s 37-36 loss to Pittsburgh.
“It was embarrassing,” Packers defensive end Ryan Pickett said Wednesday, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “To give up the kind of yards we gave up against Pittsburgh last year, we definitely are motivated. The tape wasn’t easy to watch. They did everything they pretty much wanted on us.”
I watched the tape again too this week, and I’m thinking the time would have been better spent watching more games from 2010. It’s hard to overstate how different these defenses are now.
The Steelers were struggling so much back then that Mike Tomlin called an onside kick while ahead by two points late in the game. Defensive backs like Tyrone Carter and Joe Burnett for Pittsburgh and Josh Bell for Green Bay played big roles in the dueling defensive meltdown. Troy Polamalu was out for Pitsburgh.
Both Ward and Donald Driver looked more explosive in the game than they have for most of 2010.
Still, there were a few things that could have relevance on Super Bowl Sunday. Both Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger surprisingly hit a lot in the game despite the score. Communication struggled on both offensive lines. The Packers need to find someone to cover Miller.
The most frustrating part of last year’s game for Green Bay may be something you can’t really scheme for, though.
“I counted, we had five sacks and a chance at five, a legitimate chance at five other sacks,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “But it was just basically him being Ben, you know where we missed him or we hit him and [bounced] off of him.”
While last year’s game was instructive, it’s clear that both teams — especially the defenses — are in far better shape now.