There aren't lot of things that can really surprise Charles Woodson after 18 years in the NFL. For a guy who has reached the top of the mountain so many times, both individually (Heisman, Defensive Player of the Year) and as a team (Super Bowl winner), a couple interceptions isn't exactly going to have him hurting his bum shoulder to pat himself on the back. At least not in a loss.
"Really don't even want to talk about the interceptions, just because of the fact we did lose the game," said Woodson. "It was all about winning the game. I know it was a big deal all week about that aspect of it, but it's never about that. Those things are the shiny things, shiny toys that you like, but it's about wins and losses, man. As I said a few days ago, our mission is to win our division and the only way we can do that is to beat the team that's won it the last few years. Today we dropped the ball on that."
The talk all week was about Woodson moving into the top ten in career interceptions after having picks in two-straight games. It was also about his facing Peyton Manning, of whom he had never had an interception in 8 previous meetings over 18 seasons in the NFL. And Woodson obliged the storyline all week.
"The reason why I get roped into talking about Peyton is just because of the respect I have for Peyton," Woodson added. "He's been one of the greatest players in this league now for a long time. We've both been in it 18 [years] and he's still doing great things, and I have a great deal of respect for Peyton. That's why I allow myself to get into that conversation about intercepting him and all that sort of thing, but again, it's about wins and losses."
Woodson's two interceptions in this game moved him up two more spots on the all-time list, putting him tied for 6th with Ed Reed. He also became the oldest player in NFL history to have a multi-interception game. He is understandably frustrated and unwilling to celebrate his individual accomplishments in the wake of a tough loss. So, his coaches and teammates did it for him.
"To watch someone like that, he's first ballot," said Derek Carr." That's what we call him. He showed it today against one of the best to ever play the game. It's kind of funny, you think that stuff would surprise you coming from him, how old he is. It doesn't surprise us. We kind of expect it, so that's probably the weirdness in that, is that we expect him to do things like that. I think that he played awesome."
"He's the greatest of all time, man," said Khalil Mack. "C-Wood, you see the hard work he puts in and you see it paying off every week. Wisdom, talented, playmaker ability, jumped over a guy, grabbed the ball, still tried to put two feet down. The greatest of all time. The G.O.A.T."
"Unbelievable what he's doing," said Jack Del Rio. "Just to be playing alone at 39 years old is incredible. But to be such a productive player and making big plays in the game. Clearly he's banged up, but he's fighting through the pain. His pain threshold is off the charts."
As Del Rio points out, Woodson is still in a lot of pain. He dislocated his shoulder in the season opener and hasn't hardly missed a snap since then. He had one game where he was noticeably hampered by the shoulder, and the three games since then, he has had four interceptions.
With what he's been playing through at the age of 39, the one thing he can actually get a bit excited about it the bye week and getting a chance to actually let his body recuperate.
"I've got a few things going on," Woodson said of his injury status. "I can tell you, I've never been so happy to go into the bye week, I think in my whole career. It's been a rough couple of weeks."
Take some time, CWood. You've earned it. And if you feel like doing a little bit of celebrating of your monumental accomplishment, I'm sure no one would hold it against you.