ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cardinals S Budda Baker’s 3 games enough for NFC monthly award

Oct 29, 2020, 7:10 AM | Updated: 7:18 am

Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker, left, intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks ...

Arizona Cardinals strong safety Budda Baker, left, intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson, right, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Budda Baker missed the first of four October games for the Arizona Cardinals, but the safety made enough of an impact in three wins to make up for it. The NFL named the fourth-year pro the NFC Defensive Player of the Month on Thursday.

He piled up 31 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, three QB hits, two passes defensed and a forced fumble — again, in only three games.

Baker missed an Oct. 4 loss to the Carolina Panthers to recover from thumb surgery that had him in a cast the last three weeks. He recorded his first two career interceptions with that cast on.

He is the first NFL player since 2013 to tally at least 30 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble in a calendar month.

On Monday Night Football in Week 6, Baker became the first Arizona player to record a pick and a sack while forcing a fumble since Renaldo Hill did so on Nov. 2, 2003, against the Cincinnati Bengals. After Baker’s strip of Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott and his pick of quarterback Andy Dalton in a 38-10 win, he was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Baker followed that performance up with another primetime gem of 14 combined tackles and an interception with a 90-yard return on Sunday Night Football in a win against the Seattle Seahawks.

Outside linebacker Chandler Jones, in December 2019, was the last Cardinals player to win NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

Through six games played in Arizona’s 5-2 start, Baker has amassed 59 combined tackles, including an NFL co-leading 48 solo tackles.

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