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