Green Bay Packers’ Rasul Douglas enjoys game-saving INT against ex-Team Cardinals

October 29, 2021

GLENDALE, Arizona – If it weren’t for a series of Green Bay Packers injuries, Rasul Douglas might still have been on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice team instead of intercepting a pass in the end zone of his own stadium to beat them. .

Yes, the hero who saved the game in the Packers’ 24-21 win at State Farm Stadium on Thursday was on the Cardinals practice team 22 days earlier. That’s when the Packers, with opening day starting cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Kevin King knocked out, gave him the call that boosted his career.

Douglas, a 2017 Philadelphia Eagles third-round pick, had never spent a day of his life in the NFL on a practice squad. This is generally not where fifth-year veterans reside. After three years with the Eagles and last season with the Panthers, Douglas was cut by both the Raiders and Texans this year, and his only option when the season started was the Cardinals practice team.

In many ways, Douglas was an appropriate star for a Packers team that played without so many key players – Alexander, King and their top three receivers among them – and their defensive coordinator, Joe Barry (due to COVID-19 protocols).

His interception with 12 seconds left came just when it looked like the Cardinals would do no worse than a field goal to tie the game. But Kyler Murray made one more shot in the end zone. He and catcher AJ Green crossed their signals, and Douglas was in the right place at the right time.

“What a great story,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of Douglas. “How special is this game? The boy is on the street, he comes in, he starts for us, he ends the game for us. Unbelievable.”

This after Rodgers and the offense couldn’t finish it off on their own, failing to score after getting to first and a goal at the Cardinals’ 1-yard line on the previous possession. The plays at the goal line were the only failures of an offense that controlled the game with a huge possession time advantage.

“You’re in a crazy state of mind from being in the league for five years, you’ve never been on a practice team before, and then one day you’re on a practice team,” Douglas said. “You feel like you’re working for nothing, a little bit. And then you get a call and you’re somewhere else, and you’re just playing. So I’m thankful.

“That was probably the first time I ever won a game like that. So it was kind of a shocking feeling, like, ‘Oh wow, we just won that play.’

Douglas may have been a surprise hero, but this Packers team comes as no surprise to Rodgers, who appears to be a long way from where he was during his discontent offseason. They arrived in Arizona with a shortage of personnel and as underdogs of 6.5 points. They were equaling the Cardinals with the best record in the NFC at 7-1.

“I think we are a brave soccer team,” Rodgers said. “I think probably no one expected us to win tonight, we definitely wouldn’t, maybe to be in the game, but definitely not to win with the guys we had out. I’m very proud of the guys.”

The entire pre-game story was all of the key players Rodgers would be without: wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard due to COVID-19 protocols and Márquez Valdés-Scantling due to his persistent hamstring injury. At the end of the night, Adams and Lazard were able to celebrate virtually, joining the celebration in the postgame locker room via FaceTime.

“Our guys believed, without question,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “I know we were without, you could argue, three of our best receivers. We were without our defensive coordinator. I just think these guys always think they go into every game. That’s pretty powerful. I don’t think anyone on our staff or our Players didn’t think we could get into this environment and come out with a win. “

The only question now is how many more injuries can this team sustain? The Packers lost tight end Robert Tonyan and kicked returner Kylin Hill to knee injuries Thursday. Neither sounded good. In fact, LaFleur got emotional talking about Tonyan, another key player in the Packers’ offense Thursday with three receptions for 49 yards before his injury.

“I’m sick for him, I’m sick for us,” LaFleur said. “My heart goes out to him.”

The way this team is going, general manager Brian Gutekunst could find another guy like Douglas down the road, if need be.

“You never know how the team will come together and the chemistry, the relationships and the guys who are struggling and dealing with injuries and all the adversity,” Rodgers said. “But we have a good group of guys. There is a different feeling in the team than even in the last two years. I’m not sure how it will end, but I like the energy we have in the locker room.”