Athlete of the Week: B. J. Raji, Green Bay Packers

Who says it ain't easy being green?

Nash Herringtonby Nash Herrington

Athlete of the Week: B. J. Raji, Green Bay Packers

If I were to have told you this past Saturday that the game winning touchdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears Sunday would come from a 337 lbs defensive tackle that dropped back in coverage, you would have laughed your ass off before walking away from my obvious mental deficiencies. Heck, I would even have to question my own sanity!

I guess that’s why they say that sometimes the truth is stranger that fiction, because that’s exactly what happened. The Pack’s B. J. Raji, in all his 330+ majesty, dropped back to cover against crossing routes with 6 minutes remaining in the fourth and was in the right place at the right time to pick off a pass from Chicago’s QB Caleb Haine and scamper in 18 yards for the game deciding score.

"I guess he read the quarterback’s eyes. Guy made a great catch," said Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams. "Always great to see a D-lineman do that; they never get that opportunity. I was just happy that he made a great play like that and scored. We needed it. Momentum was kind of shifting left and right at that point. We got it back."

That’s an understatement, the momentum part anyway, as the Bears got to Rodgers with a hard hit and rattled the QB enough that the Packers offense fizzled after getting out to an impressive early 14-0 lead. With the Bears finding life on the offensive end in the second half, Green Bay needed something to get them over the hump and on their way to Dallas and a date with Pittsburgh and that something ended up being Raji.

"How fitting is it that the Green Bay Packers go to the championship with the defense. It just sums it up right there," said Raji.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense gets most of the headlines but their top 5 defense has been the one constant in a season plagued by injuries. That consistent greatness was in full display against the Bears Sunday in the NFC Championship game as they confused and harassed the Bears O all day. The Raji play summed up this defense perfectly as anyone can come out of nowhere to decide the game.

"Feels like I’m living the dream," said Raji. "Second-year player, first-year starter, a chance to win the Super Bowl. Words can’t describe it.
"It’s not just about me; a lot of guys made some plays today. I was just happy to make a play for a touchdown," said Raji.
Now all Raji needs is a little help with that touchdown dance. His mini-belt celebration or whatever it was, was…um…rough to say the least.

At least he has two weeks to work on it before the next game, though.