Damarious Randall shows knack for football
From a game-winning pass breakup to a fourth-quarter interception, Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback Damarious Randall has shown a knack for the football this season.
Usually, those plays come on defense. On Sunday, it came on special teams.
Randall’s onside kick recovery gave the Packers new life with 32 seconds left. Mason Crosby’s kick bounced off Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson’s shoulder pads in a play reminiscent of the Packers’ botched onside kick against Seattle in the NFC Championship Game last January.
This time, the Packers were on the fortuitous side.
“I just seen the ball in the air,” Randall said, “and then I saw Calvin jumping up for it. I saw the ball coming down, and I was just tipping it to myself, and I ended up recovering it. I was just making sure I was going to hold onto the ball.”
Trailing by two points, the Packers got the football at the Lions’ 49-yard line. They were close to field-goal range, but could only advance 15 yards on six plays. Crosby’s potential game-winning 52-yard kick never had a chance.
Still, punter Tim Masthay said he was proud of how the Packers found a way to give themselves a chance at the end.
“It was kind of awesome there at the end,” Masthay said. “It had been kind of a down day, and then boom. The last couple minutes, we score a touchdown, kick the onside kick and then we pick up 20 or 30 yards to get into field-goal range.
“One of the huge plays there was obviously the spike kick. Mason has always been excellent at that kick, and we were able to recover it. He’s an excellent spike kicker, very good.”
Randall said the play would’ve felt more important if the Packers had won.
“It’s like all my plays came in all the losses,” he said. “It’s just more bittersweet.”
But the onside kick recovery wasn’t meaningless. Not for a team that lost its ticket to the Super Bowl last season largely because of the same play. Randall had the foresight to understand a play like that could become important again later in the season.
“The playoff game could come down to something like that,” Randall said.