It was no secret that the Green Bay Packers were going to have to pass and pass often if they wanted to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Conventional NFL wisdom often says that teams should build a lead through the air, then secure the win by killing the clock with the run late in the game.
Thankfully for the Packers, Mike McCarthy ignored conventional wisdom and stuck to his team’s strengths when the game was on the line and the Packers had the ball late in the fourth quarter. Instead of running the ball because “that’s what you have to do late in the game,” McCarthy kept doing what his team does best: throwing the ball. McCarthy put the game on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers through the first three-and-a-half quarters, and he didn’t change course in crunch time.
Of course it’s much easier to stick with passing when your quarterback is as good as Rodgers. Rodgers especially validated McCarthy’s late playcalling when he zipped that seam route to Jennings for 31 yards on third and 10 on the Packers’ last drive. That throw will go down as one of the best in Super Bowl history.
Plus it’s not like its imossible to run some clock while passing. Tom Crabtree made a nice catch on a 1-yard dumpoff to keep the clock moving. James Jones caught a screen that gave him a chance to make a play and score, or get tackled in bounds and keep the clock moving. In today’s NFL, a coach doesn’t have to be married to the run in order to bleed the clock.
We give McCarthy plenty of flack for his playcalling, especially when he gets too pass-happy. But the fact remains that McCarthy knows his team is best when it’s passing. That’s why he almost always goes to the air when his team is treading water.
Thankfully he stayed ture to himself and his team on Super Bowl Sunday. He resisted the temptation and ignored conventional wisdom to get conservative. McCarthy’s late playcalling is a major reason that the Lombardi Trophy is returning to Titletown.——————
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .