Green Bay Packers' Rasul Douglas savors game-saving INT vs. ex-team Cardinals

GLENDALE (Ariz.) -- Rasul Douglas could have been on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad if not for a rash injury to the Green Bay Packers. He might have intercepted a pass in their stadium's end zone to beat them.
Yes, indeed, the game-saving hero of the Packers' 24-21 win at State Farm Stadium on Thursday was actually on the Cardinals practice squad 22 days prior. The Packers, with Jaire Alexander and Kevin King as their opening-day cornerbacks, called him.

Douglas, a 2017 third-round selection of the Philadelphia Eagles, had never spent any time on a practice team. Fifth-year veterans rarely live on this practice squad. Douglas, who had spent three years with both the Eagles (and last season with them), was cut this year by the Raiders as well as the Texans. His only option at the start of the season was the Cardinals' practice team.

Douglas was in many ways a fitting star for Packers' team without King, Alexander, and top-three receivers -- and Joe Barry, their defensive coordinator (due to COVID-19 protocols).

Just 12 seconds remaining, his interception came as the Cardinals appeared to be on track for a game-tying field goal. Kyler Murray made one more attempt at the end zone. A.J. Green and receiver A.J.

Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback, said that Douglas was a "great story". This game is truly special. Guy is on the street and comes in to start the game for us. He finishes it for us. Amazing."

After Rodgers and his offense failed to finish the game off, Rodgers scored after Rodgers had reached first-and-goal at Cardinals' 1-yard line. An offense with a huge time-of-possession lead was unable to make the goal-line plays.

Douglas stated, "You are in a strange mental state because you have been in the league for five years and never been on a team practice squad before. Then one day, you're on a team practice squad." You feel like you're doing nothing. Then you get a phone call, and suddenly you're on your own. So I am thankful.

"That was probably my first win in a game like that. It was a shock, it was almost like we had won that play. It was kinda surreal.

Douglas' interceptions were his first since Week 17 in 2018. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, he had played 1,450 defensive plays since the start 2019 season (regular and playoffs), which was the fifth-most defensive snaps by a defensive back over that time without an interception. This includes 909 snaps of pass coverage, which is also fifth in that span without an interception.

Douglas may have been a surprise hero but Rodgers isn't surprised by this Packers team. He seems far removed from the place he was in his offseason of discontentment. They arrived in Arizona as underdogs at 6.5 points and shorthanded. They were able to match the Cardinals' record of 7-1, which is the best NFC record.

Rodgers stated, "I think that we're a gritty team of football players." "I don't think anyone expected us to win tonight. Maybe to be in that game, but certainly not to win with those guys. "I'm very proud of these guys."

All the key players Rodgers would have to be without were receivers Davante Adam and Allen Lazard due to COVID-19 protocols, and Marquez Valdes Scantling due his lingering injury to his hamstring. This was the entire pregame story. Adams and Lazard could celebrate the end of the game virtually via FaceTime, which allowed them to join the locker-room celebrations.

Matt LaFleur, Packers coach, stated that his players believed it. "I am certain we were without three of our top receivers. Our defensive coordinator was absent. These guys believe in every game. It's quite powerful. "I don't think anyone on our team or among our players believed we could win in this environment."

Now the question is: How many more injuries will this team sustain? On Thursday, the Packers suffered knee injuries to Robert Tonyan (tight end) and Kylin Hill (kick returner). Both of them didn't sound good. LaFleur actually got emotional talking about Tonyan on Thursday, another important player in the Packers' offense with three catches for 49 yards just before his injury.

LaFleur stated, "I'm sick for him, and I'm sick to us." My heart goes out for him.

Given the current state of this team, Brian Gutekunst may just be able to find another man like Douglas, if needed.

Rodgers stated, "You never know what the team will come together and how the chemistry and relationships and the guys standing up and dealing with injuries or all the adversity will be." We have a great group of guys. The team has a different feel than the previous two years. It's unclear how it will end up, but I like what I see in the locker room.