Packers Defense Carries them to Super Bowl 45

Similar to the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears ugly match-up in week 17, someone had to win the NFC Championship. After three quarters of stifling defense and a riveting fourth quarter, the Packers edged out the Bears 21-14 to become the second-ever #6 seed to make the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XLV will mark the Packers fifth overall appearance in the biggest game of them all. In that game, they will be vying for their fourth Lombardi Trophy.

It may be hard to fathom, but it wasn't Aaron Rodgers
or Clay Matthews who stole the headlines this Sunday. It was a couple
of rookies in CB Sam Shields, P Tim Masthay and second-year DT B.J. Raji
who came through in the clutch to send their team to Dallas.

While the "Midwest Super Bowl," was not the game everyone anticipated
per say, it was a game full of interesting sub-plots. Arguably the most
intriguing of them all was how the Packers allowed the Bears to stick around at the end.

Despite holding the Bears
to only one touchdown in their previous 30 drives, the Packers let
Chicago with "Hanie Fever" score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Albeit the Bears were playing with the momentum and desperation that a
team is expected to have when their season is on the line.

I wouldn't blame the defense though as it was the Packers
unimpressive offense which should shoulder most of the blame for
causing the defense to go out on the field over-and-over again. Take
away the two early touchdown drives and the offense was hardly better
than the quarterback-less Bears offense (356 total yards to the Bears'
301 yards).

And that is why the NFC Championship was decided by three unheralded
players who have been playing solid football all season long.

It all starts and coincidentally ended with the rookie CB Sam Shields
who came up with two huge interceptions in the win over the Bears. The
first pick was of the acrobatic variety and halted an early attempt by
Jay Cutler and the Bears to get back in the game. The second pick was
the game-clincher and most likely the biggest moment of the
young-player's life.

Shields also recorded a sack to become the first rookie since 1982 to have a sack and interception in a postseason game.

It would be just wrong for me not to mention B.J. "The Freezer" Raji
who rumbled in for an 18-yard return after intercepting a Caleb Hanie
pass in the fourth quarter. If you haven't seen a 340 pound man drop
back in coverage, read the pass and proceed for the pick-six, please
watch the highlights.

Lastly, but certainly not least is rookie Tim Masthay who has to be
the MVP of this game. Masthay punted eight times, averaging a booming
41.8 yards to keep the Bears on their side of the field for pretty much
the entirety of the game. There were numerous times that the Bears
were dangerously close to being hit with a safety. Without Masthay's
clutch punts, I'm not sure this game would have played out the same way.

Regardless of who came through for the winning team, it was evident the Packers
were the better team and that is why they will represent the NFC in the
Super Bowl. They will play either the New York Jets or Pittsburgh
Steelers on February 6th at the big and beautiful Cowboy Stadium in
Dallas, TX.

Once again, check back to The Sports Bank for more coverage of the Green Bay Packers as we get closer to Super Bowl XLV.

What did you think of the Packers defeat of the Bears? Who was your
MVP of the NFC Championship? Let me know by commenting below!

Follow Nick Grays on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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    Paul M. Banks

    Fulbright scholar in media studies, MBA, small media business owner, Published author, Founder of The Sports Bank.net, a Fox Sports affiliate Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Former political writer for Washington Times.com, NBC Chicago.com and numerous business journals Credentialed for: United Nations, Rose Bowl, BCS National Championship, Final Four, Stanley Cup Finals, and NBA Playoffs. Been featured on: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Live, The History Channel, CBS and ESPN radio. Does weekly segments for NBC and Fox Sports Radio stations across the nation.

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