Safeties Double Up On Manning

Safeties Nick Collins and Aaron Rouse were able to achieve a feat that has only been done one other time in Colts Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning’s career as they each returned interceptions for touchdowns against him on Sunday. - More Packers-Colts Game Center

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Aaron Rouse tied a franchise record with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Safeties Nick Collins and Aaron Rouse were able to achieve a feat that has only been done one other time in Colts Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning's career as they each returned interceptions for touchdowns against him on Sunday.

Collins returned an interception early in the third quarter 62 yards for a score and Rouse's came with under five minutes remaining when he tied a franchise record with a 99-yard return for a touchdown. He matched Tim Lewis' return vs. the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 18, 1984.

The only other game in Manning's 11-year career that he was picked off twice for touchdowns came over seven years ago when Patriots defensive backs Ty Law and Otis Smith both had interceptions for touchdowns in New England's 44-13 win over the Colts on Sept. 30, 2001.

"Our line got great pressure on him," Rouse said. "Our secondary and our coaching staff did a good job of mixing it up so he couldn't get comfortable back there. Really I just think the defense stepped up and we played at a level that we know we can play at each and every week."

With the two returns for scores, the Packers now have five interceptions for touchdowns this season, which leads the NFL. It was also the second game this season that Green Bay scored twice on interceptions, matching their performance in Week 2 at Detroit.

The last time the Packers had five or more interceptions for scores in a season was in 1966, when Green Bay posted six, a franchise record. Now they are one away from that record with more than half of the season remaining.

"It just shows you the work that guys put in during the week," Woodson said. "Our young guys have to play a lot. They get a lot of work during the week. I'm not out there, Al (Harris) is not out there, so those guys do get a lot of reps during the week and a lot of time to prepare for the game.

Collins' pick off of Manning came on the opening drive of the second half when his third-down pass intended for wide receiver Reggie Wayne in the left flat went off of Wayne's hands into Collins waiting arms. He took it down the right sideline, making one cut back to his left on his way to the end zone.

It was Collins' fourth interception on the season, besting his career-high of three in 2006.

"Once you have the opportunity to make plays you have to make them," Collins said. "You can change the whole game. My pick in the game, I think it changed the whole game. It was an opportunity for us to go up 24-7 and just take over the game.

"Once I saw the ball tipped, I was in a perfect position to make a play and I made it. Just take it to the house. That's what I am back there for, to make plays, and I had an opportunity to make that play."

Collins followed that big play up with another one on the very next series. After Manning led the Colts down to the Green Bay 27, he threw deep down the right sideline into the end zone for wide receiver Marvin Harrison with cornerback Will Blackmon covering, but Collins came over to break up the pass. After the Colts failed to convert on third down the next play, Adam Vinatieri's kick was blocked by defensive tackle Johnny Jolly.

"They were trying to get that play all night," Collins said. "What they were doing was they had Wayne in the slot and Harrison on the outside. Wayne was trying to bend over the middle so he was trying to look me off and make me bait to Wayne, and then throw it up to Harrison.

"I did a nice job of staying square and I just had an opportunity to make a play on the ball."

Rouse, starting his fourth game of the season at strong safety for an injured Atari Bigby, picked off Manning's short pass intended for wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez near the sideline.

"I recognized the route," Rouse said. "I recognized what Peyton was trying to do from watching film all week and made a great break on the ball. I know everybody wants to talk about angles with me, but I took the right angle and got a nice interception and took it 99 yards."

{sportsad300}The Packers' secondary was able to limit the Pro Bowl tandem of Harrison and Wayne to just four catches combined for 35 yards.

"We did a great job against Marvin and Reggie, and a lot of it was the young guys," Woodson said. "They are coming to play and they are learning how to trust what they see out on the field to go out there and make plays."

The defensive backfield has been forced to deal with injuries most of the season. Woodson fractured a toe in the season opener vs. Minnesota but has played every game. Bigby has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury, and Harris has been sidelined the past four games because of a spleen injury.

With next week's bye ahead, the defense now turns its attention to a Nov. 2 matchup at the currently undefeated Tennessee Titans, knowing that they could have Bigby and Harris back in the lineup.

"We've had a lot of things not go our way, but that can be an excuse for you or you can go out there and continue to be a professional at what you do," Woodson said. "That's what we've done."

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