CHICAGO -- Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji, all 337 pounds of him, picked off the pass that was mistakenly thrown right to him, took off on a short, earth-trembling jaunt to the end zone and then held the ball out in front with his big right hand.
Teammates defend Cutler
"It's not just about me, man," Raji, sporting a championship cap, said in a jubilant Packers locker room. "A lot of guys made some plays today. I just happened to make a play for a touchdown. Guys were making plays all season."
Green Bay also received two interceptions -- one to close out the victory in the final minute -- from defensive back Sam Shields.
"I was like, 'Wow, he threw it,'" Raji said. "It was my job to catch it, and I caught it. ... You like to think pressure usually rattles a quarterback, and this guy hadn't had much experience all year in the game, so we knew eventually we'd get our shot. ... How fitting is it to be a Green Bay Packer and win the championship with defense? That sums it up right there."
The Bears got the ball back again, and Hanie tried to lead them to their third TD of the final quarter after taking over for the injured Jay Cutler and ineffective backup Todd Collins. But Shields cut off the last drive with his second interception, this one at the Packers 12 to wrap up the victory.
"They're always teaching us to stay on top, and that's what I did and got my head around," said Shields. "Go to the highest point. Once before, I was a receiver, and that's what we were taught -- go to the highest point and grab the ball."
The Packers made a miserable day for Cutler, who departed in the third quarter with a knee injury and completed only 6 of 14 passes for 80 yards.
"I looked out there, and they had a new quarterback, so kind of wish they would have had Jay in there the whole time, the way things were going," he said.
Until Johnny Knox got free on a 32-yarder from Hanie in the fourth quarter to set up a TD, Green Bay's pass coverage seldom cracked, and the Packers were pitching a shutout.
"When you play a team three times, you have to be able to mix it up a little to see if it presents new problems, and I think we were able to do that for the most part," Matthews said. "Presenting new schemes and lining up players at different positions and trying to throw them off real quick."
After Rodgers' passing got Green Bay rolling early, the defense clamped down on most everything the Bears tried until the final quarter.
Green Bay had 15 players land on injured reserve this season, including several key members of the defense.
"It was easy for people to write us off with all the injuries. But (defensive coordinator) Dom (Caoers) does a great job of putting us in the right position, and, obviously, we bought into it," Matthews said. "Here we are shutting down great quarterbacks and great offenses. ... We keep playing defense the way we know how, and it's going to be tough for teams to beat us."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press