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Packers' road to Super Bowl XLV

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Jan. 23, 2011 @ 7:07 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Now that Green Bay has qualified for Super Bowl XLV, becoming the first No. 6 seed in NFC history to reach the big game, PFW takes a look back at how the Packers got there by looking at their week-by-week results.

Week One
Packers 27, Eagles 20
Down went RB Ryan Grant, but up went a win in the standings, as QB Aaron Rodgers threw a pair of TD passes, and PK Mason Crosby booted a team-record 56-yard field goal. Eagles QB Michael Vick made the Packers sweat with a strong second-half performance out of the bullpen in relief of the injured Kevin Kolb.

Week Two
Packers 34, Bills 7
Green Bay's defense took center stage, led by LB Clay Matthews, who registered three sacks for the second time in two games. The Packers limited the Bills to only 186 yards of total offense. On the other side of the ball, Rodgers threw for 255 yards with TDs to WRs Donald Driver and James Jones and scrambled for another score.

Week Three
Bears 20, Packers 17
In the first of three games this season against their arch-rivals, the Packers' team-record 18 penalties was the major story line in a Monday-night loss that was decided on Bears PK Robbie Gould's 19-yard field goal with four seconds remaining.

Week Four
Packers 28, Lions 26
Green Bay appeared to have a comfortable 28-14 lead after CB Charles Woodson returned an interception 48 yards for a TD early in the third quarter. But the Lions made the Packers sweat, cranking out four consecutive PK Jason Hanson field goals to make it close. Rookie SS Morgan Burnett suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Week Five
Redskins 16, Packers 13 (OT)
The loss of offensive centerpiece TE Jermichael Finley with what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury made for a very painful day. It was a game nobody seemed to want to win. The 'Skins punted on seven of their first eight possessions, and the Packers' last seven possessions ended with four punts, two missed field goals and an interception.

Week Six
Dolphins 23, Packers 20 (OT)
One week after sustaining a concussion, Rodgers forced an extra period with a QB sneak into the endzone on 4th-and-goal with 13 seconds remaining. But the Packers suffered their second overtime defeat in a row on Dolphins PK Dan Carpenter's 44-yard field goal. Packers WR Greg Jennings had six catches for 133 yards and an 86-yard TD in defeat.

Week Seven
Packers 28, Vikings 24
In a highly anticipated prime-time matchup, the big difference was that Rodgers ended up making fewer mistakes than QB Brett Favre. The former Packers legend threw three second-half interceptions but still had a shot at a vintage comeback with time winding down. Rodgers threw for two TDs and 295 yards but also had a pair of costly first-half picks.

Week Eight
Packers 9, Jets 0
Missing numerous key players, Green Bay's defense made a major statement, pitching a shutout on the road despite being outgained 360-237. CB Tramon Williams came up with a key interception, and head coach Mike McCarthy called P Tim Masthay's performance the best he had ever seen from a punter.

Week Nine
Packers 45, Cowboys 7
It was no contest, as Rodgers threw for 289 yards and three TDs, RB Brandon Jackson scored twice and Jones caught eight passes for 123 yards and a TD in Green Bay's third consecutive victory.

Week 11
Packers 31, Vikings 3
The Packers picked up where they left off before their bye, showing Favre and the Vikings no mercy whatsoever. Rodgers threw four TD passes, three to Jennings, who had seven catches for 152 yards.

Week 12
Falcons 20, Packers 17
After Rodgers rifled a 10-yard TD pass to WR Jordy Nelson with 56 seconds left to tie the game, Atlanta's RS Eric Weems returned the ensuing kickoff 40 yards. An ill-advised facemask penalty on LB Matt Wilhelm tacked on 15 more yards to set up PK Matt Bryant's game-winning 47-yard field goal with nine seconds left.

Week 13
Packers 34, 49ers 16
The Packers pulled away in the second half behind big efforts from Driver, who eluded numerous Niners defenders on a nifty 61-yard catch-and run for a TD; Jennings (6-122-2); and rookie RB James Starks, who ran for 73 yards in his pro debut.

Week 14
Lions 7, Packers 3
In addition to snapping a five-game losing streak, the pesky Lions knocked Rodgers out of the game with his second concussion of the season, putting his streak of 48 pro starts in serious jeopardy for the next game against the highly regarded Patriots. A shot at a comeback led by backup Matt Flynn fell short when he threw an interception to Lions LB DeAndre Levy in a crowded endzone.

Week 15
Patriots 31, Packers 27
If not for the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in league history — 71 yards by Patriots OG Dan Connolly — Flynn and the Packers might have sprung a major prime-time upset. Connolly's lumbering return set up QB Tom Brady's key two-yard TD to TE Aaron Hernandez. Flynn threw three TD passes in Rodgers' place.

Week 16
Packers 45, Giants 17
Feeling refreshed after sitting out the previous game, Rodgers more than anybody kept the Packers' playoff hopes alive with four TD passes and 404 yards passing in a must-win victory. Green Bay's defense registered six takeaways (two fumble recoveries and four picks).

Week 17
Packers 10, Bears 3
It didn't come easy, but the Packers clinched a playoff berth in a defensive struggle. Green Bay took the lead for good on Rodgers' one-yard TD pass to TE Donald Lee in the fourth quarter. FS Nick Collins' interception of Jay Cutler stopped a late drive by the Bears.

Wild-card round
Packers 21, Eagles 16
Rodgers threw three TD passes, Starks ran for 123 yards and Williams sealed the deal with a leaping interception in the endzone with 33 seconds remaining. Green Bay should have had a 21-3 halftime lead, but Jones dropped what would have been a sure 63-yard TD reception.

Divisional round
Packers 48, Falcons 21
Rodgers couldn't have been any better, completing 31-of-36 passes for 366 yards and three TDs and running for another score in a surprising rout of the No. 1-seeded Falcons. Four different Packers wide receivers had at least 75 yards receiving.

NFC championship game
Packers 21, Bears 14
Rodgers and Starks put the Pack up 14-0 with TD runs in the first half before the Packers' "D" knocked Jay Cutler from the game early in the second half with a knee injury. NT B.J. Raji's 18-yard pick-six of third-string QB Caleb Hanie put Green Bay up 21-7 in the fourth quarter. Hanie had the Bears threatening to tie the game late, but Sam Shields' second interception of the game clinched the win.

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