When the Steelers look back at this one, though, they'll wish Polamalu and Harrison had done what made them two of the elite defensive players in the NFL.
"We wanted to keep an eye on where Polamalu was," Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson said. "Aaron made great decisions all day."
The first quarter provided an ominous peek at how this night would unfold as Starks rumbled for 12 yards — and Polamalu had a shot at him, and missed. Jennings caught a 21-yard pass from Rodgers on the next play and Polamalu unloaded on him, his hair flying behind him, but there was one problem: the Packers receiver was already across the goal line.
Harrison was the Defensive Player of the Year two years ago, and capped off that season with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in a Super Bowl victory.
He was coming off another impressive season for the Steelers in which he had 10½ sacks. He's a problem for receivers and tight ends coming across the middle, and for offensive linemen trying to protect their quarterbacks.
Not so much in this one. The Packers did a terrific job of keeping him out of Rodgers' face.
"He's probably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL," Packers guard Daryn Colledge said, "so we feel in the huddle that all we've got to do is protect and he'll make things happen."
Harrison was one of the centers of attention during the week leading to the Super Bowl, taking some hard shots at the league by calling the NFL's talk about wanting to protect players "a show." He sarcastically suggested a pillow could be used to soften blows he delivers to opposing players, and ripped the owners' push for an 18-game regular season.
Harrison was fined $100,000 by the NFL for illegal hits this season, but won't have to worry about his wallet after this game.
"Bottom line is, we played subpar ball," Harrison said. "And, you see what the turnout is."
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