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Super Bowl 2011: Lack Of Rushing Attack Puts More Pressure On Packers' Rodgers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 09:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers and Brandon Jackson #32 celebrate after a touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Brian MurtaughAnalyst IFebruary 3, 2011

The Pittsburgh Steelers have notoriously had one of the strongest run defenses in the entire National Football League over the last decade, and 2010-11 proved to be exactly the same.

Pittsburgh ended the regular season ranked first against the run, allowing only 62.8 yards per game on the ground. The Steelers also finished first in points allowed per game as they only allowed an average of a little over 14.

Green Bay struggled with the rush all season long after losing Ryan Grant early in the season due to injury.

Brandon Jackson and James Starks have since tried to fill the void left by Grant, but as the season wore on, it became evident that Green Bay was simply not going to be a superior rushing team.

Jackson received the bulk of the carries throughout the regular season with 190 attempts for slightly over 700 yards and three touchdowns. That is an average of only 3.7 yards per carry

Starks did not get much playing time until the latter part of the season, but was effective in his opportunities, given that he went for 101 yards on 29 rushing attempts.

All indicators seem to spell out disaster for the Packers' runners.

The only way Green Bay's rushing attack will benefit the Packers is if the team finds a way to establish the passing attack early and often.

That means that Aaron Rodgers will be forced to make some throws early amongst the jitters and nervousness that comes along with playing in a Super Bowl.

The Steelers defense has been in this position before. Pittsburgh seems to thrive when opponents are forced to push the ball down field and attempt to outsmart the Steelers' secondary.

Aaron Rodgers may need to have the best game of his career in order to keep Green Bay in the hunt for its first Super Bowl victory since 1996.

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