Woodson's Effort Not Enough

During an otherwise rough day for the defense, cornerback Charles Woodson was making the kind of plays that kept Green Bay in the game. Woodson not only had two interceptions that led to 14 points, but he also led the entire defense with 10 tackles (nine solo) and almost singlehandedly gave the Packers a chance to beat the Bengals. - More Packers-Bengals Game Center

During an otherwise rough day for the Packers' defense, cornerback Charles Woodson was making the kind of plays that kept Green Bay in the game.

Woodson not only had two interceptions that led to 14 points, but he also led the entire defense with 10 tackles (nine solo) and almost singlehandedly gave the Packers a chance to beat the Bengals on Sunday.

Woodson's first interception came late in the first quarter. The Packers had just tied the game at 7 and on Cincinnati's ensuing snap, Carson Palmer tried to throw down the right sideline to Chad Ochocinco. Woodson was in perfect position to make the pick, and he returned it 22 yards to the Cincinnati 11-yard line. Two plays later, Ryan Grant scored for a 14-7 lead.

Then midway through the second quarter with the game tied at 14, Palmer tried another throw to the right side to tight end Daniel Coats. Woodson was right in the passing lane for the interception and had an easy 37-yard stroll to the end zone, putting Green Bay back on top again at 21-14.

"I didn't anticipate him throwing it because I was sitting there," Woodson said. "I was in the zone. I guess he tried to look me off and didn't think maybe I could get there, and he let it go. Of course my eyes got big."

The interception return for a touchdown was Woodson's fifth in four seasons with the Packers. That moved him past a three-way tie for fourth place on the franchise's all-time list with Nick Collins and Johnny (Blood) McNally and into a tie for second with Bobby Dillon and Darren Sharper. He now trails only Herb Adderley, who had seven.

The play also marked Woodson's sixth defensive touchdown as a member of the Packers (five INTs, one fumble return), moving himself into sole possession of third place on that list. Adderley and Sharper, both with seven, are tied atop that category.

Woodson now has 21 of his 38 career interceptions since coming to Green Bay as a free agent in 2006, in a total of 48 regular-season games. He had 17 interceptions in 106 games with Oakland earlier in his career. Three of his four career multi-interception games have come as a member of the Packers as well (at Detroit, Week 2, 2008; at Seattle, Week 12, 2006).

His big plays and big games have become almost commonplace, so much so that the most surprising thing about the Packers' four interceptions in the season opener last week against Chicago was that Woodson didn't have one of them.

But with two already this year, he needs just five more to join Dillon (1953-57) as only the second player in franchise history to record at least seven interceptions in three different seasons. Woodson had eight in 2006 and seven last year.

Unfortunately, Woodson's touchdown provided the last points Green Bay would score until a field goal late in the fourth quarter, and it was the last highlight for a defense that had a rough day against Cincinnati's Palmer (3 TD passes) and running back Cedric Benson (29 carries, 141 yards).

"Charles Woodson played his butt off today and kept us in the game," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "But we need to have 11 guys on defense, 11 guys on offense playing and wanting it as badly as Charles does. We need to follow his example."

For all of his key plays, if there's one Woodson would like to have back, it's probably Benson's run on third down midway through the fourth quarter.

The Packers were trailing 28-21 and Cincinnati faced third-and-2 at its own 42 with just over seven minutes left. Woodson got into the backfield, but Benson eluded his grasp and then also broke a tackle attempt by linebacker A.J. Hawk and scampered 14 yards for the first down.

The Bengals eventually punted on the series, but from the Green Bay 35, pinning the Packers on their own 15. Had they been punting from their own 40, the scenario could have been different.

{sportsad300}Later in the fourth, Woodson did bring down Benson for a 1-yard gain on third-and-5, forcing the Bengals to kick a field goal to make it a 10-point advantage with 1:56 left. That set the stage for the wild finish with the onside kick, but the damage had been done.

In any event, the defensive effort in general wasn't what the Packers had in mind after making a successful debut of their new 3-4 scheme in the opener against the Bears. The most frustrating sequence in Woodson's mind came late in the second quarter when the Bengals were backed up on their own 7-yard line but drove the length of the field to tie the game at the half.

"That's a hard one to put a finger on because we have worked hard, and today for whatever reason it wasn't there," Woodson said. "We couldn't get stops. For a team to have a 12- or 14-play drive or whatever they had in the first half and go down there and put up points, that's something that's just unacceptable. That's something we couldn't imagine would happen, and they did it."

Equally unimaginable was losing at home to a team that won just four games a year ago, and allowing three touchdown drives of 60 yards or more in the first three quarters.

"There's really no excuse with this team and the players we have on the field, to allow them to pretty much do whatever they wanted to all day," Woodson said. "It's early in the season so of course you have a long time to fix things and get things together.

"But we've got a long day tomorrow. It will be hard to swallow, to watch the way this thing unfolded today, and hopefully we come back in, work tomorrow, watch film, and come in Wednesday ready to go. Because no team is going to lay down for us just because we have a new defense and we felt good about what we did in preseason and the first game. We have to be ready."

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