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Game Notes: Woodson Leads The Way On Takeaways

For the third straight game, Green Bay’s defense forced four or more turnovers, and cornerback Charles Woodson made his presence felt with two forced fumbles that led to scores for the Packers. - More Packers-Cardinals Game Center


GLENDALE, Ariz. - For the third straight game, Green Bay's defense forced four or more turnovers, and cornerback Charles Woodson made his presence felt with two forced fumbles that led to scores for the Packers.

Woodson led the defense with two sacks and three forced fumbles, and the Packers' defense has now produced a staggering 13 takeaways in just three preseason games.

"That's the kind of defense we want to be," Woodson said. "It's been fun this preseason being an attacking defense, getting turnovers. That's the one thing we know we want to carry over into the regular season."

Woodson got the turnover parade started on the first defensive series of the game as he stripped wide receiver Jerheme Urban on a reception at the Green Bay 49, and then recovered the fumble and returned it to the Arizona 45. The Packers used the field position to set up a 27-yard field goal from Mason Crosby to go up 10-0.

"I'm just trying to do my part," Woodson said. "I want to earn my keep around here, so if I can be the guy that starts it and sets the tone, then I'll be that guy. If not, then I'll finish it off. One way or the other, I'll get involved."

Midway through the second quarter, Woodson came through untouched on a blitz and forced a fumble by quarterback Kurt Warner, Woodson's third forced fumble of the game, and linebacker Aaron Kampman scooped up the ball for a 24-yard return touchdown.

"We had a blitz on and I was the contain element," Kampman said. "Charles made a great play on the ball and got it out, and I just happened to be on the carpet and I took it in for the score. I haven't scored like that since high school so that was fun."

Late in the first half, safety Anthony Smith posted his second interception of the preseason, coming over to intercept Warner's deep pass over the middle intended for Urban. Smith returned the pick 38 yards to the Arizona 11, setting up quarterback Aaron Rodgers' touchdown pass to tight end Jermichael Finley on the next play to put the Packers up 38-10 at the half.

"I think it's another step in the right direction," Kampman said. "You never get too high in the preseason, but the reality is some fundamental things that we are doing are good things. We're getting the ball, getting a lot of takeaways, and those are good things. I think they are going to be good signs for a pretty good defense this year."

Setup man

With quarterback Matt Flynn and punter Durant Brooks sidelined with injuries Friday night, wide receiver Ruvell Martin handled the holding duties.

After connecting on his first attempt from 27 yards in the first quarter, Crosby's 29-yard attempt late in the second quarter sailed wide right. He also pushed a 48-yarder wide left in the fourth quarter.

"I know on the first one, the ball, when I got it, I tried to get the laces down and it just didn't feel right when it was on the ground," Martin said. "I think Mason said it was a little forward or too close to me, so I knew it wasn't quite right. He said something afterwards about it, that it didn't feel right too. That one was on me.

"It was probably harder for Mason tonight because he doesn't know if he can trust the person, especially me. I haven't done it for him yet. But for me, I didn't think it was hard. I enjoy going out there and doing it."

Martin found another way to contribute on special teams late in the game. With the Packers holding a 38-37 lead with just over 30 seconds remaining, Martin fielded kicker Neil Rackers' onside kick attempt and took it 39 yards untouched for the touchdown.

Although the Packers held on for the 44-37 win, Martin said he did consider taking a knee to allow Green Bay to run out the clock and not give Arizona the ball back.

"I saw that it was a short kick, so I started charging it to make sure I got it. I noticed the one guy that looked like he had a play on it came outside to my right and that's what I saw. When I looked up there wasn't anyone left so now I am running to the end zone and I am thinking, 'Do I take a knee right now or do I go?'

"In a split-second decision I was not quite sure if this was the right situation to do it. If I do take a knee and I am wrong I'm going to be very upset so I just went ahead in the end zone and looked around when I got there and thought, 'Shoot, I shouldn't have done that.'"

{sportsad300}On the run

While he has made no shortage of big plays with his arm, Rodgers found another way to contribute to the offense on Friday night.

On the opening drive of the game, Rodgers scrambled up the middle for a 34-yard gain all the way to the Arizona 6 to set up a touchdown run from John Kuhn. Rodgers' career-long run in the regular season came last season when he posted a 21-yarder vs. Minnesota.

"I just wanted to get out of bounds," Rodgers joked. "My calves started tightening on me a little bit."

Rodgers got some help from a downfield block by wide receiver Donald Driver on cornerback Ralph Brown.

"They say I never block," Driver said. "That's one thing that I wanted to prove, that I can still block."

Alumni visitors

Former Packers wide receiver Robert Brooks and offensive lineman Mike Flanagan were guests of the team on Friday night and watched the game from the sidelines. Brooks lives in Phoenix and Flanagan resides in Henderson, Nev.

Injury/participation update

Brooks (hip flexor), Flynn (shoulder), cornerbacks Pat Lee (back) and Will Blackmon (quad), safeties Charlie Peprah (knee) and Aaron Rouse (hamstring), linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Nick Barnett (knee), and defensive end Justin Harrell (back) did not dress for Friday night's game.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings took a blow to the head on his 25-yard catch on the opening drive of the game, and did not return. Jennings was sandwiched between cornerback Bryant McFadden and safety Aaron Francisco, and appeared to take a knee from Francisco to the head. Jennings stayed down for a few minutes before walking off the field on his own. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Jennings "looked OK" after the game.

Safety Atari Bigby sustained a sprained thumb and defensive end Michael Montgomery broke his hand in the second quarter. Running back Brandon Jackson suffered a bruised shin early in the third quarter. None of the players returned to the game.

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