Lions' Butler goes from couch-sitter to game-saver

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Green Bay, Wis. — Crezdon Butler knew it was his time to make a play.

With Lions cornerbacks Nevin Lawson and Josh Wilson suffering injuries late in the fourth quarter, Butler suddenly found himself on the field for a 2-point try that the Packers needed to tie the game with 32 seconds left.

“I looked at Aaron Rodgers, and I’m like, ‘He’s looking at me. I know what that means,’” Butler said.

Sure enough, Rodgers targeted Butler, but as Green Bay receiver ran his out route in the end zone, Butler tipped the pass right before it reached Davante Adams' hands and fell incomplete.

As if it wasn’t stunning enough for the Lions, who started 1-7, to upset the Packers, who were 6-2, and win at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991, the most critical play came from a cornerback who wasn’t even on the roster until Saturday.

“Went from sitting to at the crib, to winning the game!” Wilson said to Butler in the locker room. “Damn!”

It was fitting, too, that Butler made the game-saving play after he sent a text message to interim general manager Sheldon White last week asking about any possible opportunities following the dismissal of GM Martin Mayhew. Butler, who was with the team in training camp, said he’s stayed in touch with cornerbacks coach Tony Oden, too.

“‘If you’re ready for me, I’m ready to play,’” White said of Butler’s message. “And I am not lying about that. He’s been all over us.”

Several Lions players were happy for Butler, but knowing the strange circumstances, Butler’s teammates were quick with jokes, too.

“The guy that made the play to help us win the game barely made it on time for the flipping plane ride,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said.

Although he’s not a household name, Butler has some experience as he’s now appeared in a regular-season game for eight different teams since being a fifth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2010. He also spent a week with the Seahawks this season.

However, Butler said his pass break-up Sunday was the biggest play of his career and the experience of ending the Lions’ losing streak in Green Bay was “unbelievable.”

And before the play happened, safety Glover Quin tried to provide some encouragement.

“I just went to him, and I just said, ‘Hey man, they brought you here for this reason. They brought you here for this moment,’” Quin said. “And he came up and made a big play.”