Late in the second quarter of the Green Bay Packers victory over the New York Jets on Sunday, the Packers found themselves in a dire situation. They trailed the underdog Jets 21-9 and with two minutes to go before halftime, the Jets were moving in on another score.
The Packers defense which had struggled all day up to that point, needed to make a play and that is when Mike Daniels and Tramon Williams combined to make one. Daniels, a defensive end, had already gotten into the Jets’ backfield a couple times but with New York facing a first-and-10 at the Packers 27, Daniels put pressure on quarterback Geno Smith and hit him as he threw. The hit caused Smith’s throw to sail and Williams jumped up and snared it, giving Green Bay a critical stop and its first turnover of the game.
The turnover gave Aaron Rodgers and the offense another opportunity to put points on the board before the end of the half and despite looking human for most of the first half, Rodgers proved why he is an elite quarterback, proceeding to march the Packers 97 yards in 10 plays for Green Bay’s first touchdown, trimming the Jets lead to 21-16 at the half.
Rodgers was great and would throw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Yet, without that quarterback pressure, there may not have been an interception and without that the Packers would likely be down at least 24-9 at the half if not 28-9.
To be blunt, Williams interception was the play that changed the game. It was the kind of play great defenses need to make and one the Packers couldn’t come up with a week ago against Seattle. Daniels, who spit on his performance against the Seahawks showed again why he is among the most valuable players on the Green Bay defense. His sack, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits were essential and without his inside pressure, the Packers would not have gotten the game changing play they needed to pull out the come from behind victory.