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Budda Baker gets 1st NFL interception, celebrates by bowling

Dallas Cowboys guard Connor McGovern (66) gives chase as Arizona Cardinals' Budda Baker (32) returns an Andy Dalton (14) interception in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Budda Baker earned an extension in August to become the NFL’s highest-paid safety, all without recording an NFL interception to that point.

And in his 51st career game, a pick on Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton during a 38-10 Monday Night Football win gave him his first as a pro.

The pick ended a Dallas drive deep in Arizona territory, as Baker picked the ball off at the Cardinals’ 10-yard line and returned it 51 yards. A review ruled him down by contact upon making the catch.

The highlight night didn’t end after Baker read the pass play, jumped a route and came down with the ball. The Cardinals had a finely choreographed celebration after the safety’s first career pick.

Baker got to throw a strike that Dalton didn’t, bowling down his 10 defensive teammates.

It was a field day for Arizona’s defense, which forced four turnovers, including two Ezekiel Elliott fumbles and two Dalton interceptions.

The Cardinals scored on the ensuring offensive possession after each of those Dallas mistakes. After Baker’s interception, a field goal put Arizona ahead 31-3 midway through the fourth quarter.

Baker’s pick was just a piece of his monster game for the fourth-year pro, who signed a four-year, $59 million extension two months ago.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph repeatedly put the safety on the edge as a rusher, and Baker recorded a sack and a hurry on Dalton on blitzes while also forcing one of Elliott’s fumbles.

Baker became the first Arizona player since 2003 to record a pick, a sack and a forced fumble in a single game, according to StatMuse.

Phillips Law Group

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