CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals’ Budda Baker snags INT vs. Rams after entering game hobbled

Nov 13, 2022, 5:33 PM | Updated: Nov 14, 2022, 12:26 pm

Earlier in the week, head coach Kliff Kingsbury heard there was a “zero percent chance” Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker would suit up against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 10.

Suffering an ankle injury the week prior, initial reports had Baker missing multiple weeks.

It was safe to say the Cardinals were going to be down their best defender and the heart and soul of the franchise during a pivotal part of the season.

That was until the safety was spotted back out on the practice field this past Friday.

It was a sign that the injury wasn’t as bad as originally thought, though, it was not an indication he would actually be active in L.A.

But just when it seemed like the Cardinals were going to have to turn to Charles Washington and Chris Banjo to pick up the slack opposite Jalen Thompson, Baker went from questionable to active in the eventual 27-17 win over the Rams.

“Just put a lot of work in throughout the week and told them I was good enough to play,” Baker told reporters postgame.

“After getting that MRI, they were telling me a certain amount of time I was going to be missing and personally for me, I just didn’t allow that to hit my brain, honestly,” the safety added. “Didn’t allow it to get to me, just wanted to take it one day at a time and work and continue to treat my ankle. By the time Thursday hit, I’m feeling alright. Friday hit, tried to practice a little bit, ‘I think I can do it.’ Continued to treat all weekend and just to get this W today it feels good.”

And Baker didn’t just find the field, he impacted the game just as he has done time and time again.

On top of recording four tackles over the course of the matchup and providing that no-quit energy, Baker helped keep the game out of reach late in the game with an interception he returned 53 yards.

“Budda was a huge part of the defensive energy,” Kingsbury told reporters postgame. “Beginning of the week, everybody told me there was no chance he can play, it was going to be three weeks, and then he just kept working, kept working and I know he was still hurting out there and went out there and played and that really inspired the entire team.”

The pick not only erased any of the good Rams quarterback John Wolford was having on the drive, it set up the offense for easy points behind a Tristan Vizcaino 46-yard field goal.

The legend of Baker continues in the desert.

“He will push through things that most people won’t and he wants to be out there,” Kingsbury said. “You have to at times take care of him, but I thought he handled himself well and what a tremendous interception he had there to seal the game.”

Life Changer Loans

Cardinals Corner

Paris Johnson Jr. #77 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Northwestern Wildcats during...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals nab OL Paris Johnson in Brugler’s 1st mock draft for 2023

The Athletic's Dane Brugler graced us with his first mock of the year on Wednesday and has the Cardinals taking OSU's Paris Johnson at No. 7.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals S Jalen Thompson points during practice on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals’ Jalen Thompson left off ESPN’s under-25 ranking

Safety Jalen Thompson has been a constant within the Arizona Cardinals defense over the past couple seasons.
1 day ago
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray looks on during practice on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tempe. (Tyl...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals enter Week 13 with minute chance at making 2022 NFL playoffs

Mathematically, the Arizona Cardinals somehow still have a sliver of postseason hope remaining in the 2022 season.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals DL J.J. Watt (Tyler Drake/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

Out of office: Arizona Cardinals embark on bye week later than most

After 12 weeks of ups and downs, the Arizona Cardinals get a reprieve from all the minutia that comes with the NFL schedule.
3 days ago
Wide receiver Marquise Brown #2 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares for the snap during the second ha...
Tyler Drake

Pitch count? Hollywood Brown plays nearly every snap vs. Chargers

Hollywood Brown went from being on a snap count to leading all Cardinals wide receivers in the category in Week 12.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Tyler Drake

James Conner’s big day can’t make up for Cardinals’ lack of finish vs. L.A.

James Conner's impressive showing on Sunday was not enough to make up for the Cardinals' miscues in their loss to the Chargers.
3 days ago
Cardinals’ Budda Baker snags INT vs. Rams after entering game hobbled