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Williams' Interception Finishes Final Stand

PHILADELPHIA - For a Green Bay defense that was one of the best in the league at keeping its opponents out of the end zone in 2010, it was only fitting that the unit came through with a critical stop in the closing minute to preserve the Packers’ biggest win of the season.


With the Packers holding a 21-16 lead and under a minute remaining, cornerback Tramon Williams made a leaping interception of a Michael Vick pass intended for wide receiver Riley Cooper on the left side of the end zone to put the finishing touches on another strong defensive effort in a season filled with them.

"It feels great, not only for myself but everybody in this locker room and everyone back in Green Bay," Williams said. "The opportunity was given to me to make that play and I made it.

"The great thing about it is anybody back there in our secondary could have made that play. We have a bunch of playmakers, and hopefully we can continue this throughout the playoffs."

Williams said Cooper came off the line quickly before slowing down and then accelerating again on a pattern that sent four receivers on vertical routes.

"The route that he was running, he was pretty much jogging on the sideline for a while," Williams said. "We kind of bumped into each other and I looked back and I saw the ball coming. I knew I was going to be able to get it.

"He probably wasn't his first read. He just continued his route to the back of end zone. The guy is 6-4 or 6-5 so Mike probably thought I'm going to take a chance and throw the ball up. I'm 5-11, he's 6-4, but I can jump too."

Fellow cornerback Charles Woodson said film study during the week showed that the Philadelphia wideouts often try to lull defenders into thinking they are not going to get the ball, and Williams' play was a prime example of the importance of staying with your man until the very end.

"They do a lot of that so you've got to pay attention to them," Woodson said. "A lot of their deep routes they kind of come off lackadaisical and then just try to take off.

"It could have been (an example of that). I'm not exactly sure. Just maybe try to put Tramon to sleep, but obviously Tramon woke up pretty early this morning."

The defensive stop to end the game was just one of many on Sunday afternoon for a defense that made a name for itself in adverse situations this season.

The game began in a similar fashion to last year's Wild Card loss at Arizona, with the defense placed in a challenging position early on because of a turnover. After getting off to what looked to be a promising start by forcing a three-and-out by Philadelphia on the first series of the game, cornerback Brandon Underwood backed into the ball as he was blocked on Sav Rocca's 36-yard punt, getting a piece of it with his foot as linebacker Omar Gaither recovered at the Green Bay 41.

Vick scrambled for an 11-yard pickup to the 30 on the first play, and then running back LeSean McCoy gained 7 yards on two carries to set up a third-and-3. Williams broke up Vick's pass intended for Cooper on third down, and it appeared the Packers would dodge an early bullet by holding the Eagles to just three points from normally reliable kicker David Akers. But they did one better when his kick sailed wide right.

"That was huge," Woodson said. "They get down there with half the field, less than half the field. That is the kind of thing you practice for. You're going to have to go out there sometimes on a sudden change situation, and if you want to be known as a good defense, those are times in the game where you are going to have to go out there and step up and we did that."

The defense would be put to the test right away to start the second half because of a turnover after defensive end Darryl Tapp posted a sack/fumble by quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the opening drive that Philadelphia recovered at the Green Bay 24. Philadelphia was able to capitalize that time as Vick found wide receiver Jason Avant over the middle for a 24-yard score that narrowed Green Bay's lead to 14-10. It was only the fourth touchdown of the year allowed by the defense off of 24 turnovers.

After the offense responded with a touchdown to put Green Bay up 21-10, the Eagles moved into scoring range courtesy of some solid starting field position at the Packer' 46 late in the third quarter. A 7-yard completion from Vick to Cooper and a 2-yard McCoy run set up third-and-1 at the Green Bay 16. McCoy took it off left tackle on third down, but linebacker Clay Matthews came across the play to make a leg tackle for no gain.

Once again, it appeared the defense had rallied to hold the Eagles to just a field goal, but Akers' kick sailed wide right, this time from 34 yards out.

"That is something we have pretty much been doing the whole season," Williams said. "We know if we don't hurt ourselves defensively that too many people can't move the ball all the way down the field on us. We have just pretty much been doing all year and it's something we take pride in."

The defense would save the best for last with Williams' interception, its final stamp in a performance it hopes to carry over to another tough road test in Atlanta next Saturday.

"We felt like we gave them some points actually, but to go out there in that last drive, for Tramon to seal it and get a pick, we feel like our defense, if we're in a pressure situation we can that we can go out there and perform and get off the field if we have to," Woodson said. "Today we came up with a big stop at the end.

"I just think we are playing well together. I think guys understand the defense, guys understand what is asked of them, and going out and playing fast. When you have guys going out there and know what they are doing and they're able to play fast as well, then you come up with these kinds of plays and these kinds of wins."

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