Early last week, Troy Polamalu was basking in the limelight of being named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
A season before, Charles Woodson was the league's top defender.
Late Sunday evening, Polamalu and the Pittsburgh Steelers were dejected, following a 31-25 loss to Woodson and the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers was on target with his passes most of the night. His numbers, 24-of-39 for 304 yards and three touchdowns, would have been better had several passes not been dropped.
The Packer defense seemed to take a page from the New York Jets, moving their defensive front around to confuse Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offensive line.
Despite losing Woodson to an injury right before halftime, the Green Bay defense bent, but did not break, in the second half.
Three Steeler turnovers resulted in 21 Packer points, the most crucial a Rashard Mendenhall fumble. However, the Pittsburgh offense managed to close the deficit to three points in the fourth quarter.
But Rodgers forever ascended into the Packer pantheon with a clutch scoring drive that ate up the clock, extended the lead, and gave the Green Bay defense a rest before the final Pittsburgh push.