CB Charles Woodson returns an interception 46 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
KANSAS CITY - Charles Woodson is never one to let penalties or mistakes bother him, because if he ever gets his hands on the ball, he knows he can make up for it.
With the Packers trying to protect their late lead, Woodson ripped off a 27-yard punt return to set up a field goal and then returned an interception 46 yards for the game-clinching touchdown in Green Bay's 33-22 victory over Kansas City on Sunday.
Up until his big plays late, Woodson was having a rather non-descript day. He had been flagged three times, once each for defensive holding, illegal contact and pass interference. The illegal contact had been declined, and the pass interference was a questionable call against Samie Parker that gave Kansas City 25 yards and set up a fourth-quarter touchdown.
But he made everyone forget those errors in the final two-plus minutes on Sunday.
With the Chiefs trailing 23-22 and punting from their own 15, Woodson fielded Dustin Colquitt's punt at his own 42, cut left and found an opening for a season-long 27-yard return.
Many times in that situation the safe thing to do is simply fair-catch the ball so as not to risk a turnover or penalty on the runback. But Woodson was taking nothing for granted in a one-point game nearing the two-minute warning.
"No, no, no, you try to make a play," Woodson said. "Fair-catching it takes you out of the play. Who knows what's going to happen when they offense gets on the field? The punt return gave us a big lift, gave us field position."
It gave the Packers a first down on the Kansas City 31, and three plays later Mason Crosby hit his fourth field goal of the game for a 26-22 advantage.
Then moments later, Kansas City faced third-and-2 on its own 42 when Damon Huard's pass over the middle was behind Parker, and Woodson snagged it and took off for the goal line.
"He just ran a stop route over the quarterback," Woodson said. "I think the quarterback thought he was going to pivot back out, and I was standing right there."
The touchdown closed out the scoring and was reminiscent of Nick Barnett's long interception return near the end of the victory over San Diego that came with the defense protecting a narrow lead as well.
The defense has been in that situation several times this season, and more often than not it has come through.
"The defensive huddle is always cool and calm," cornerback Al Harris said. "We're like 'All right, it's on us. Somebody has to step up big, come up big for us.'
"That was great. We needed it at that time. He came through for us."
The Packers have been questioned at times for using Woodson on punt returns because of the risk of injury, which the defense couldn't afford considering the plays he's able to make like the game-clinching turnover on Sunday.
But the former Heisman Trophy winner is not only sure-handed, but dangerous with the ball in his hands, and he proved again how valuable he is in his dual role.
"I've said it over and over again - he's the most instinctive perimeter defensive player that I've ever been around," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's very intelligent. The punt return and his pick were huge plays in the game."