Interceptions Keep On Coming In Win

The Packers intercepting four passes on Sunday wasn’t anything out of the ordinary as it was the third time this season that they recorded that number, but the surprising part was that none of the picks came from its top two players in that category. - More Packers-Seahawks Game Center

The Packers intercepting four passes on Sunday wasn't anything out of the ordinary as it was the third time this season that they recorded that number, but the surprising part was that none of the picks came from its top two players in that category.

The Packers entered Sunday's contest with Seattle with 23 interceptions on the season, third most in the league, with cornerback Charles Woodson (eight) and Nick Collins (six) accounting for more than half of that number.

Green Bay added four more picks on Sunday afternoon against Seattle, with safety Atari Bigby leading the way with two and cornerback Jarrett Bush and linebacker A.J. Hawk each adding one. It was the third time this season that the Packers have posted four interceptions in a game (vs. Chicago in Week 1, at Detroit in Week 12).

The last time the Packers did that in a season was 1981, when they had four games with four interceptions. The 27 interceptions on the season are the most since the Packers posted the same number in 1984.

"It's nice to see Jarrett Bush and Atari (post interceptions)," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's really about opportunities. They're trying to attack different regions of the field and it really speaks volumes of how the guys are playing with more vision, more confidence, and the fits of the coverage as far as leverage and identification of pass concepts and pattern reading. It's nice to see everybody pitching in."

The Packers had posted a takeaway in every game this season until last Sunday in Pittsburgh when they were shut out for the first time all year as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 503 yards in the Steelers' 37-36 last second-win. Entering that game the Packers had picked off at least one pass in six straight games, and on Sunday they didn't waste any time finding their rhythm in that category.

After Green Bay's offense went three-and-out on the opening series of the game, the Seahawks quickly moved the ball into Packers territory behind their ground game of Julius Jones and Justin Forsett. Facing a 3rd-and-1 at the Green Bay 36, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck rolled out to his right and was pressured by linebacker Brad Jones. With no receiver in the area, Hasselbeck inexplicably dumped the ball off in the right flat right into the waiting arms of Hawk.

It was Hawk's second interception this month and matched his career high of two set in his rookie campaign of 2006. He returned the pick 29 yards, a career-long return, to the Seattle 35-yard line, and the Packers scored four plays later on a 13-yard Brandon Jackson screen pass.

With the Seahawks trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, Hasselbeck quickly moved Seattle's offense down the field with passes of 17 and 31 yards respectively to wide receivers Deion Branch and T.J. Houshmandzadeh. With Seattle threatening at the Green Bay 8 on third down, Hasselbeck's pass intended for Houshmandzadeh in the middle of the end zone was tipped by defensive end Johnny Jolly at the line of scrimmage and picked off by Bigby, who made a diving grab.

"It was a route that we practiced all week," Bigby said. "I was there on the play but Jolly tipped the ball, so he made it a little bit easier for me. Man, I wish I could have caught it on my feet. I'm thinking, 'Let's take this thing 102 (yards).'"

Bush got into the act early in the third quarter, posting the first interception of his career. With the Seahawks facing a 3rd-and-11 from their own 36, linebacker Clay Matthews put a hit on Hasselbeck as he tried to find Houshmandzadeh down the field, and Bush came underneath the route to pick the pass off. Bush returned the pick 3 yards to Seattle's 47, and the offense capped off a seven-play drive with a Jackson touchdown run.

{sportsad300}The defense had one more interception in it, and it came courtesy of Bigby once again, giving him two interceptions for just the second time in his career (at St. Louis, Dec. 16, 2007). December has been a good month for Bigby during his career as he registered four picks in 2007 in the final month and two on Sunday after registering just one in the first 13 games this season.

"I think we all have love for each other (in the defensive backfield)," said Bigby. "We all want to see each other make big plays, so we're always rooting for each other and we have each other's back no matter who is in there.

"I've been trying to get a pick all season, and it is December now and they are finally starting to come around. The right time."

Bigby's second pick came on another third-down pass as Hasselbeck threw deep down the middle for Branch. Woodson was covering underneath and Bigby was over the top of Branch on the route, one that Bigby said Woodson told him was coming.

"You recognize what a team is doing to you," Woodson said. "You recognize sets. I had seen that set a number of times and was just letting them know what they were going to run. Either they throw it short enough and I get it or they throw it long enough and he gets it, and he made the play.

"We have some athletes back there. We've got some guys that can play this game. Our job is to stay focused, play the calls the way they are supposed to be played, and we can make things happen back there."

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