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Clay Matthews’ hit was the play of the game

NFL Super Bowl Football

Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews answers a question during media day for NFL football Super Bowl XLV Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


When the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLV started, the Packers had the lead, but the Steelers had all the momentum.

And then, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Packers linebacker Clay Matthews changed that.

Matthews burst through the line and drilled Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall three yards behind the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble that Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop recovered. On the Packers’ ensuing possession they scored to expand their lead to 28-17, and that hit from Matthews proved to be the play of the game.

“I was able to get around my guy and make a solid hit right on the football,” Matthews said after the game. “I wasn’t sure that it had come out until I looked up and saw Desmond with the ball.”

For the Packers, the hit was emblematic of the style of play Matthews has delivered for the two years he’s been on the team, two years in which he’s been as good as any defensive player in football. But Matthews wanted to put the spotlight on his defensive teammates.

“We have been playing team defense all season and this was just another case of that tonight,” Matthews said. “I am so proud of our defense.”