A sports movie ending for a rising star.
Each year, Acme Packing Company’s writers vote for the Green Bay Packers’ top plays of the previous season. Our votes are based on the impact of the play, spectacular individual or team effort, or sheer amusement value we compile the votes to list out the top ten plays. Join us over a two-week span as we count down from 10 to 1 in the Packers’ Top Plays of 2021.
Our second-ranked play of 2021 comes from a familiar suspect: Rasul Douglas, who has already been featured on the list at numbers five and ten. Without a doubt, though, this sports movie ending was the cornerback’s top play from last season.
It was October 28th and the Green Bay Packers traveled to Glendale, Arizona to take on the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Despite entering the game with a 7-1 record, the hopes were not particularly high for the Packers, who were down receivers Davante Adams (reserve/Covid-19), Allen Lazard (reserve/Covid-19) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (injured reserve.)
Cornerback Kevin King also had a shoulder/back injury which eventually led to Rasul Douglas, a cornerback who was plucked off of the Cardinals’ practice squad just a few weeks earlier, to get an every-down role with the team for the first time in 2021. This Thursday Night Football matchup was going to tell the Packers a lot about the depth of their roster moving forward.
The Arizona Cardinals were already in field position to tie the game up at 24 points and force overtime with a field goal as they broke the huddle from second and goal at the five-yard-line. Quarterback Kyler Murray was seemingly playing with house money at this point, as he only had to be safe with the football to ensure the Cardinals could take it into overtime.
With that being said, they still had two downs to quickly see if a touchdown was open or throw the ball away…if Murray could stay away from throwing a football in harm’s way.
The Cardinals came out in a four-open shotgun formation, a set to throw the football, which shouldn’t have been surprising considering they did not have any more timeouts available with 15 seconds left on the clock. Defensive coordinator Joe Berry sent the house, blitzing seven players if you include the safety green-dogging the running back.
On the backside of the trips set, Douglas was left manned up against Arizona receiver A.J. Green. A slightly high snap and color in Murray’s face led to a quickly-thrown ball in Green’s direction with a follow-through that can only be described as Murray ducking ghosts.
Based on Murray’s ball placement, it looks like he wanted Green to attack the ball on a back-shoulder fade. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Green never turned his head around and Douglas, who never had to flip his hips, tracked the ball to the sideline for a game-sealing interception.
Douglas’ immediate reaction was to wave goodbye to Cardinals fans in the end zone of State Farm Stadium, culminating in a shot of a slumped over Cardinals fan over the end zone wall.
Thrill of victory for Rasul Douglas. The agony of defeat for Cardinals fan there. Apparently a home game for the Packers
Rasul should’ve done the Lambeau Leap pic.twitter.com/CB1OccmM4K
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 29, 2021
Douglas had arrived. Weeks ago, the Cardinals didn’t think he was worthy of being on the 53-man roster. Now, he was a starter for the one-loss Packers who were atop the NFC and had just silenced the team that doubted him in the biggest moment that you could draw up in the regular season.
The Packers immediately jumped from second to first in the NFC standings after the game with the tie-breaker over the Cardinals. With that extra victory in hand, Green Bay was able to clinch the top seed in the NFC playoffs prior to Week 18, which allowed them to rest their starters for the second half of the game against the Detroit Lions before their wildcard week bye.
Douglas, who began to prove he had a knack for making plays in big moments, had a career season in 2021 and was able to earn a three-year, $21 million contract in the 2022 offseason just a half-year removed from being on the Cardinals’ practice squad.