Defense dominates in second half

GREEN BAY (AP) -- Charles Woodson has a Heisman Trophy, a national title and four Pro Bowl selections on his long list of college and pro credits as a football player.

GREEN BAY (AP) -- Charles Woodson has a Heisman Trophy, a national title and four Pro Bowl selections on his long list of college and pro credits as a football player.

But until Sunday, he'd never returned a fumble for a touchdown in the NFL.

Woodson's 57-yard runback late in the third quarter put the Green Bay Packers ahead for good in Sunday's 17-14 win over Washington.

''There's nothing like getting into the end zone,'' said Woodson, who has four defensive touchdowns in his career. ''Putting six points on the board, to help you get a victory, that's what you live for.''

Woodson's game-changing play highlighted a dominating performance by the Packers defense in the second half.


Green Bay forced two fumbles, prevented the Redskins from converting all seven of their third-down chances and had two fourth-down stops in the closing minutes to keep Washington off the scoreboard.

The Redskins, who led 14-7 at halftime, gained only 96 yards in the last two quarters.

''That's what we expect as a defense,'' Packers linebacker Nick Barnett said. ''Anytime that the game is on our shoulders, we've got to go out there and do what we're supposed to do. We definitely did that.''

Green Bay's assertiveness on defense started to show when lineman Corey Williams stripped the football from receiver Santana Moss on a reverse. Woodson picked the ball off a wet Lambeau Field turf and sprinted the other way untouched for the go-ahead touchdown.

Woodson had a career-high eight interceptions in his first season last year with the Packers, who signed the free agent previously with Oakland to a lucrative contract.

He had his first interception this season earlier in the game Sunday, grabbing a Jason Campbell pass that deflected off Moss.

Woodson couldn't say after the game where he would rank his big fumble return. ''I took a lot of hits out there,'' he said. ''I really feel like I was in a football game today. It was a big play. Hopefully, I have many more to come.''

Packers safety Atari Bigby forced a fumble by running back Clinton Portis early in the fourth quarter deep in Redskins territory, but Green Bay didn't cash in with any points.


In Washington's next possession, Barnett sniffed out a short pass to Ladell Betts and dropped the RB for no gain on a fourth-and-2 play at the Packers 33.

Taylor made

Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams grabbed safety Sean Taylor as he was walking out of the locker room.

Taylor had two interceptions off Brett Favre -- the first of which was the 278th of Favre's career, pushing Favre past George Blanda and into first place on the all-time interception list.

Taylor just shrugged and refused comment. Williams seemed more impressed.

''You made history,'' Williams said. ''And you could have walked in (to the end zone).''

If Taylor had been able to bring either of his interceptions back for a touchdown, Sunday's outcome likely would have been different. As it was, the Redskins weren't able to capitalize on either one. Not only was Washington unable to turn either turnover into points -- they weren't even able to manage a first down.

''He kept us in this game,'' running back Clinton Portis said. ''Because of him we should have won, but we didn't.''


Favre played his worst game of the season, completing just 19 of 37 passes for 188 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions for a passing rating of 43.5.

''He's one of the best ever but we didn't let him show that today,'' linebacker London Fletcher said. ''It might not seem to mean much after you lose a game like that, but we're definitely pleased that he wasn't able to do much against our defense.''

Bad timing

Although the Redskins' offense went backward on its final chance to try to get in position for a game-tying field goal, a gaffe by the Packers' punt unit could have been costly.

Jon Ryan punted the football with the game clock running and the play clock at 17 seconds. Washington, which had no timeouts, took over at its 20-yard line with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter -- instead of having what would have been less than a minute on the game clock, had the Packers let the play clock run down.

Long snapper Rob Davis said rookie fullback Korey Hall, the up back in the punt formation, made the premature snap call.

''Korey's a first-year guy, and they didn't give him the call, I guess,'' Davis said. ''So he went out there and said, 'Set.' I probably should've took control of that, being the vet in there. But, it is what it is.''

Packers coach Mike McCarthy took ultimate responsibility.

''No excuse,'' McCarthy said. ''That can't happen. That was clearly a mistake on my part.''


Playing in soggy conditions, Packers rookie kicker Mason Crosby missed two field goals after hitting nine of 10 attempts through his first five games. ''(The field) started getting a little chewed up after (halftime),'' Crosby said. ''I changed cleats, and I felt pretty good about it. I'm happy that we won and that our guys fought so hard.'' ... Packers TE Donald Lee had a personal-best, 60-yard catch in the first quarter, the longest pass play of the season for the Packers. It set up a 3-yard touchdown run by rookie DeShawn Wynn. ... The Packers had two new starters on the offensive line. Jason Spitz made his first career start at center, in place of an injured Scott Wells. Tony Moll started at right guard for Junius Coston, who sprained his ankle in practice Thursday.

What To Read Next