Packers DB Woodson saved game despite broken toe
After helping the Green Bay Packers turn a blown lead into a big victory at Detroit on Sunday, cornerback Charles Woodson wasn't basking in the two interceptions he made or looking for a pat on the back for the fact that he did so with a broken toe.
Instead of gloating about the touchdown he scored, Woodson was beating himself up about the one he gave up to Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Woodson tried to break up the pass but Johnson made a juggling catch.
"I don't know if I hit his hand or the ball, I'm not sure," Woodson said. "I should've picked it. I got two interceptions, but that's what I think about."
Woodson said he was "kicking himself" about the play, which allowed the Lions to cut the Packers' lead to eight early in the fourth quarter.
"I felt like that was a play I should have made," Woodson said. "And I didn't make it, and they score a touchdown. Now they get momentum, and anything can happen at that point."
A safety on a botched punt by the Packers and another touchdown catch by Johnson allowed the Lions to take a 25-24 lead with 7:41 left in the game.
But Woodson played a major role in making sure the Lions' momentum didn't last, picking off a pair of passes and running one back for a touchdown as the Packers reeled off 24 straight points in the final 5:17 of the game to win 48-25 and start the season 2-0.
Not bad for a 31-year-old guy who sat out practice last week because of the broken toe that continues to bother him.
"It gave me a lot of trouble, but once you're in the game you're in the game," Woodson said. "You just play and you just get through it. About midweek I kind of made up my mind that it was all or nothing to go play or don't go play. Early in the season I don't want to miss any time."
Woodson's teammates were impressed.
"He didn't practice all week," defensive end Aaron Kampman said. "Sitting on the training table and to come out and perform like this is just tremendous. He is a professional. He knows how to take care of himself, study and get ready to play. That says a lot about him."
So was his coach.
"Charles is a great player," Mike McCarthy said. "He's been a true pro for us. Time and time again he has the ability to play through injury. He didn't even practice all week, and then to go out and perform at the level he did today, I just can't say enough about him and what his production meant to the win [Sunday]. I felt he turned the game around."
Woodson was dealing with a different toe injury late last season and sat out the Packers' game against Dallas. His absence was apparent as the Cowboys beat Green Bay 37-27.
With another game against Dallas coming up Sunday night, the Packers are hoping Woodson can play through the pain again. McCarthy said he anticipates that Woodson will play Sunday.
"There's nothing for me to believe not to," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said having Woodson makes a big difference for the Packers' defense.
"He's a big part of our game plan, different things you want to do coverage-wise, matchups and things like that," McCarthy said. "But you play that game as a team. You win as a team, you lose as a team. But having him this year will definitely be to our advantage because of the experience that he brings and the ability to make big plays -- which was evident in the Detroit game."
Woodson said the injury hurt his play on the field, even if the results didn't necessarily show a drop-off in his performance.
"A large part of the day, I was a little off as far as man-to-man, technique, moving my hips," Woodson said. "But I watch film, so you know what to expect. That's what keeps you sharp. You try to limit those wasted movements by knowing what the other team is going to do."
Woodson said the injury still hurts, and he wasn't sure what his availability would be for practice this week. McCarthy said team doctor Pat McKenzie didn't think Woodson made the injury any worse by playing on Sunday.
"Dr. McKenzie felt that he came out of the game fine, that there wasn't any further damage," McCarthy said. "So we'll see how he feels Wednesday morning."
McCarthy said fullback Korey Hall has a sprained knee with significant swelling and was not likely to practice until Friday at the earliest. ... McCarthy said safety Atari Bigby was in a similar situation after straining his hamstring. ... McCarthy said he was hopeful that center Scott Wells (lower back) might practice Wednesday, and guard Josh Sitton (knee) also was close to returning to practice.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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