By Eric Goska
|Rasul Douglas intercepts in the end zone in Arizona.|
(screenshot from NFL Game Pass)
Call it a nix-six pick?
Maybe that’s not the best way to refer to an interception that prevents a touchdown late in a game. But absent something better, the term will have to suffice.
Whatever you want to call it, the play Rasul Douglas made late Thursday in Arizona cries out for a catchy nickname. His end-zone interception with 12 seconds remaining allowed Green Bay to escape with a 24-21 win over the previously unbeaten Cardinals.
Not all interceptions carry the same weight. Some, like a long heave before halftime, are akin to a punt. Others, either directly or indirectly, result in points.
Still others seal victory. Though perhaps not as glamorous as a pick-six, they determine who wins and who loses.
Down 24-21 with three minutes, 23 seconds remaining, Arizona mounted its final drive hell-bent on scoring. The team began at its 1-yard line after quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ fourth-down pass was batted incomplete.
Just over three minutes later, Kyler Murray had his team perched at the Green Bay 5. With 15 seconds remaining, the Arizona quarterback had potentially three shots to pierce the Packers’ end zone.
He got only one.
The Cardinals appeared well-positioned to take the lead. In their previous 22 fourth-quarter plays, they had gashed Green Bay for 166 yards (7.5 average) and 10 first downs.
But Douglas was about to change that. Tasked with guarding A.J. Green, Douglas, and not the former All-Pro receiver, came up with the ball in the end zone on Murray’s first throw there on that final drive.
Douglas tapped both feet down to make sure before heading off to celebrate.
Quite an accomplishment for a player who was on the Cardinals’ practice squad just weeks earlier. A third-round pick by the Eagles in 2017, Douglas was signed to the Packers’ active roster on Oct. 6.
But Douglas did more than provide the climatic play. He registered a team-high nine solo tackles and was on the field for all 55 of Arizona’s offensive plays.
He also saw extensive action in two other games. He had five tackles against the Bears, and made four stops, and forced a fumble against Washington.
Solid work, but nothing as memorable as his dagger in the desert.
So, what separates Douglas’ pick from the many others in Packers history? Time and location.
Since 1942, only nine Green Bay defenders have intercepted a pass in the last two minutes of a game with the line of scrimmage tucked inside the Packers’ 10-yard line. Douglas and Doug Evans (in 1995) are the only two to have done so with the ball resting inside the 6.
Douglas’ interception won’t soon be forgotten. It’s also one that might carry some weight when playoff seedings are determined.
GB3 10-22-1995 Doug Evans Vikings Brad Johnson GB won, 38-21
GB5 10-28-2021 Rasul Douglas Cardinals Kyler Murray GB won, 24-21
GB7 11-19-1967 Willie Wood 49ers John Brodie GB won, 13-0
GB7 10-11-2015 Quinten Rollins Rams Nick Foles GB won, 24-10
GB8 11-29-1981 Mike Douglass Vikings Tommy Kramer GB won, 35-23
GB8 10-4-1987 Jim Bob Morris Vikings Tony Adams GB won, 23-16
GB8 9-5-1993 Roland Mitchell Rams Jim Everett GB won, 36-6
GB9 10-21-1956 Jim Capuzzi Rams Rudy Bukich GB won, 42-17