Cardinals’ Budda Baker gets game ball for INT, return and maybe a kid

Dec 5, 2021, 6:15 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2021, 7:32 am
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes during the first half of an NFL football game aga...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

As usual, head coach Kliff Kingsbury handed out game balls to the Arizona Cardinals’ players as the team was the first to hit 10 wins in the NFL with a 33-22 victory over the Chicago Bears.

There were a few unique performances in Week 13, however.

Budda Baker was honored not only for great play, but because he was close to not playing in Sunday’s game.

“Interception 77-yard return, and hopefully a kid tonight,” Kingsbury said.

Baker traveled to Chicago in a private plane with owner Michael Bidwill because Baker’s girlfriend is due to have their baby. The plan was to turn the plane around at any moment if she were to go into labor.

Third-year player Zach Allen was the first to receive a game ball with three tackles, a pass deflection and an interception. Cornerback Byron Murphy, who apparently wasn’t feeling great, got a game ball for recording a pick and a half-sack, plus two passes defensed.

Kingsbury then honored punter Andy Lee for his role in a clutch moment.

“Big time, big time clutch punt when we needed it to change momentum,” Kingsbury said. “Fifty-yard punt downed on the one yard line, Andy Lee.”

Safety Jalen Thompson was also given a game ball for his continued outstanding play in 2021, posting 10 tackles an interception and a pass deflection.

Linebacker Jordan Hicks is also expecting a baby soon and was given a game ball for leading the team with 13 tackles and two sacks.

The last player to receive a game ball was Kyler Murray. The quarterback not only returned from injury but etched his name in a couple of different NFL record books.

“Reached 10,000 passing yards, fourth quickest in NFL history and the fastest player in NFL history with 60 passing, 20 rushing (touchdowns), K1,” Kingsbury said.

The head coach handed out his last ball to Bidwill. Arizona’s franchise originated in Chicago before moving to Phoenix and tomorrow is the owner’s birthday.

The NFL best 10-2 Cardinals will host the 8-4 Los Angeles Rams next on Monday Night Football.

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