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It's been a long road for both teams to get to the championship. And whatever they're doing up north, it must be good. The AFC and NFC North have made it to the title game.
The AFC North has overcome the AFC East's powerful offense and disposed of the disappointing AFC South, and now they enter the title game with their fate resting in the hands of all 11 players on the defense as well as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Ray Rice.
The NFC North, meanwhile, is centered around offense, which it lives and dies by. The defense isn't bad, but it isn't a unit capable of carrying the team. Aaron Rodgers will be playing possibly the largest role of any member of the team.
Truly this is a game for the ages. Aaron Rodgers throws an early pick which Ed Reed returns 30 yards before lateraling to fellow Raven Lardarius Webb for the score. However, soon afterwards B.J. Raji crushes Ben Roethlisberger, who coughs up the football. This leads to a field goal by kicker Robbie Gould.
Ray Rice takes a screen pass from Roethlisberger all the way midway through the second quarter, but just before the half ends a short pass to Percy Harvin turns into a 60 yard gain, allowing Adrian Peterson to run in for the score from only a couple yards out as halftime arrives.
In the second half, Aaron Rodgers throws touchdowns to Megatron and Jordy Nelson, putting the NFC North up 24-14 as they begin to get into a rhythm. Luckily for the AFC North, Ben Roethlisberger is able to get the ball to A.J. Green in the end zone to cut the lead to three going into the fourth quarter. A field goal by Phil Dawson ties the game, and with just over two minutes left in the game, Charles Woodson trips up and allows Ben Roethlisberger to hook up with Mike Wallace, who burns the defense for a 57 yard score. The AFC North is now up 31-24.
Aaron Rodgers, relatively untested in the clutch, begins at his own 20 and immediately hits Greg Jennings for 14 yards. The defense holds on the next two downs, however, but on the verge of a three-and-out Rodgers gets the ball to Jordy Nelson for 11 yards and another first down. However, Nelson doesn't get out of bounds and the clock runs. With just over a minute left in the game the Packers steadily make their way to the AFC North's 34 yard line. Rodgers hits Harvin with a short pass, and Harvin...FUMBLES the ball! He scoops it back up, but the blunder means the clock will continue ticking. The next play, Rodgers rolls out and tries to find Calvin Johnson downfield but before the ball is released Terrell Suggs comes up with a huge sack.
Now, with 20 seconds left, a ticking clock, and almost 50 yards to go the NFC North hurls it deep. The pass is batted down by Joe Haden. 14 seconds remain and it is fourth down. Rodgers slings it to Calvin Johnson, knowing it is all or nothing, and the ball is tipped before falling into the hands of a player who lies in the end zone for a few seconds before realizing what has happened. Finally, a triumphant Lardarius Webb stands and faces a cheering crowd, having come up with the interception that seals the deal for the AFC North.
AFC North 31 NFC North 24