DETROIT - Who needs practice, right?
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that even though veteran cornerback Charles Woodson hadn't practiced all week, his ability to play through injuries, and play well, had earned the coach's trust enough to allow him all the way up to game time to see if he could play on his broken toe.
Woodson honored that trust, as the former University of Michigan star intercepted two passes in a span of two minutes in the fourth quarter on Sunday, returning the second one for a touchdown. The defensive gems allowed the Packers to not only hold on but ultimately run away from Detroit in a 48-25 victory at Ford Field.
"He's been a true pro for us, time and time again," McCarthy said. "To go out and perform at the level he did today, I just can't say enough about him and what his production obviously meant to our win today because I felt, just individually, he turned that game around in the fourth quarter."
Woodson broke a toe on his right foot during the season opener against Minnesota and spent all week in rehab, trying to get the swelling down and figure out a way he could play on it.
For three-and-a-half quarters he had the typical up-and-down game of a cornerback, defending his share of passes but getting beat on occasion, including on one of Calvin Johnson's touchdowns on a juggled ball just out of Woodson's reach, which sparked the Lions' comeback.
But Woodson, who played through painful shoulder and knee injuries in 2006 and battled a different toe problem last year, came up big down the stretch.
Moments after the Packers had regained the lead on a Mason Crosby field goal, Detroit quarterback Jon Kitna tried to go to Johnson down the right sideline. But Woodson was there, hauling in the pick while falling down at the Detroit 40, which set up Brandon Jackson's 19-yard TD run.
"If the play is there, you've got to make it," Woodson said. "That's why I'm kicking myself a little bit about the touchdown, because I felt that was a play I should have made. I didn't make it. But when you make a mistake you have to make up for it."
Woodson did, and then some. Just two snaps into the Lions' next possession, he stepped in front of a Kitna pass intended for Mike Furrey at the Detroit 41 and raced untouched up the sideline for a touchdown of his own, essentially sealing the game.
Having given away the ball from his first interception to a fan, Woodson decided to give the touchdown ball to someone who shared in the credit for his strong game, assistant athletic trainer Bryan Engel.
"He spends a great deal of time with a lot of us guys in the training room, getting us ready," Woodson said. "He doctored up my foot all week, doctored up my shoe, and did what he needed to do to help me get out here to play today."
Woodson's last trip to Ford Field wasn't quite so thrilling for him, as he injured his left big toe on a punt return and ended up missing the following week's game at Dallas. That remains the only game Woodson has missed due to injury in his three seasons in Green Bay.
"Pretty much mid-week, I made up my mind it was all or nothing, either play or don't play," Woodson said. "Early in the season I don't want to miss any time this early. With two division games you want to go out there full man, so I just tried to suck it up, get out there and play football."
The two-interception performance is the third of Woodson's career and second with the Packers. The other came in 2006 in Seattle. The defensive touchdown marks the sixth of his career and fourth in Green Bay. He had an interception return for a score at Miami in 2006, a fumble return to paydirt last season against Washington, and an interception return for a TD at Kansas City, also last year.