Ward frustrated over lack of opportunities on final drive of Super Bowl

Pittsburgh Steelers Gary Russell (L), Hines Ward (C) and Mike Wallace enter the field before the start of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. UPI/David Silpa

Hines Ward expressed his frustrations to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette about not having more opportunities to make plays on the Steelers’ final drive against the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. But as usual, he was professional about it.

Ward thought they’d do it right until the end, when they had a first-down on their 13 and two minutes to go. However, without criticizing anyone, he was not happy he did not get much of an opportunity on that drive. Heath Miller caught the first pass for 15 yards. Ward caught the next for 5 yards — which wasted about 30 seconds because Antwaan Randle El acknowledged he lined up on the wrong side. The next three passes all were aimed at Mike Wallace but never connected.

“I’m thinking deja vu, here we go again,” said Ward, who caught seven passes for 78 yards and one touchdown in the game. “Two minutes, let’s go down there. I really felt like I was in a zone, that anything that came my way it was going to get caught no matter what. I didn’t get an opportunity. I would like to have gotten opportunities [on the final series] but it didn’t happen.”

Spoken like a true competitor. Ward has been around long enough to know that criticizing coaches or teammates gets you nowhere fast. If you’re a winner, you want the ball in your hands in crunch time and there’s no doubt Ward is a winner. I’m sure Mike Tomlin appreciates that his veteran receiver wanted more chances to make plays in the clutch and expressed his frustrations without throwing anyone under the bus.

On a related topic, Ward will have two surgeries this week, one on his left knee and the other on his left thumb. As of right now, the Steelers expect him to be back in uniform next year if there’s a season.

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