Unruly Detroit Lions stumble against Arizona Cardinals, 21-25
- Updated: September 17, 2013
Discipline? Who needs discipline? Oh, and please come back, Jason Hanson! We miss you!
The Detroit Lions (1-1) looked like the same old Lions on Sunday, losing by score of 21-25 to the Arizona Cardinals (1-1) on the heels of a great second-half defensive performance by Arizona, which completely shut down a Detroit offense missing running back Reggie Bush (knee).
On defense, Detroit died a slow, painful death all too reminiscent of their 2012 late-game failures, allowing Arizona to return from a 21-13 third-quarter deficit.
The offensive line continues to do a good job of protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Cardinals only mustered one coverage sack (by defensive end Calais Campbell) and two hurries. Protection wasn’t the problem in the second half. The receivers’ hands were.
The defense finally scored a touchdown after not scoring any in 2012. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh pressured quarterback Carson Palmer and the Cardinals tight end stopped on his route, opening DeAndre Levy for an easy pick-six to put Detroit up 21-13 in the third quarter.
According to ProFootballFocus, Detroit finished with one sack, five quarterback hits, and 18 hurries. Suh netted two hits and two hurries, while Willie Young came up with a sack and five hurries but tarnished his performance with a costly hands to the face penalty. Rookie Ziggy Ansah was good in both pass rush and run defense; he also had a strip sack that was negated by Young’s infraction.
Stafford completed 24 of 36 attempts (66 percent) with two first-half touchdowns to wide receiver Calvin Johnson for an excellent Complete Quarterback Rating (CQBR) of 80.54.
Detroit finished even in the turnover department, with Bush’s fumble offset by the pick-six. The fumble gave Arizona the ball on the Detroit seven-yard line, but the defense was able to hold the Cardinals to a field goal.
Matthew Stafford’s numbers were marred by the stone hands of his receivers, who were charged with six drops, and another pass that was batted away by the Cardinals. Although Stafford himself made no mistakes, the offensive scheme was too cautious after the loss of Reggie Bush. They took no shots deep, and the receivers were unable to get separation from the defensive backs. Cornerback Patrick Peterson did a great job of covering Megatron in the second half after struggling in the first two quarters.
There was one major breakdown in coverage, when rookie cornerback Darius Slay allowed running back Andre Ellington to score on a wheel route. Slay was ultimately benched in favor of veteran Rashean Mathis. Overall, the defense bent a lot but didn’t break — until the very end. The fourth-quarter touchdown drive they gave up was similar to the many defensive breakdowns they experienced in 2012.
After a strong showing last week, the running game was poor against Arizona’s stout run defense. Joique Bell had only eight carries for 31 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and Bush nine carries for 25 yards (2.5 ypc).
Although the turnover on downs to end the game and the blocked field goal don’t show up on the stat sheet as turnovers, they still cost Detroit the game. Wide receiver Nate Burleson was jammed on fourth down by the Honey Badger, rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu, and tackled short of the sticks.
The Lions lost, and Honey Badger just don’t care.
The eight penalties came at the worst possible times.
Willie Young’s hands to the face penalty negated a forced fumble by rookie Ziggy Ansah that would have given Detroit control of the game. A low hit on Carson Palmer by defensive linemen Israel Idonije put the Cardinals in field-goal range. Cornerback Bill Bentley was flagged for two defensive pass interference penalties and a holding penalty. In the fourth quarter, he failed to get his head around on a deep pass intended for Andre Roberts, setting Arizona up at the Detroit one-yard line.
Nate Burleson, Calvin Johnson, and tight end Brandon Pettigrew each had a dropped pass, while Joique Bell had three.
Placekicker David Akers continues to struggle against Arizona, having gone 10 of 18 the past three seasons. He missed two field goals in a row even after getting a second chance on a roughing-the-kicker penalty. An important fourth-quarter attempt was blocked, leaving the Lions without offensive points in the second half. He left six points off the board in a four-point loss.
Detroit’s average starting field position was its own 14-yard line, and they never started beyond their own 21-yard line. Any offense is going to struggle to win games when it’s force to work with so many long fields. Arizona kicked and punted well, but Detroit’s woes were exacerbated by two special teams penalties and one poor punt return by Michael Spurlock.
The Detroit Lions must find a way to put this tough road loss behind them as they travel again in Week 3 to FedEx Field, a place where they have never won. They will be taking on the Washington Redskins (0-2), who have not looked good in either of their first two games. I will be in attendance at this game, representing Water Cooler Sports with my BOOMBAYA sign and my chicken suit.
A win on the road is important for Detroit to get its season on track in advance of two consecutive divisional games. I had projected Detroit to start out 2-1. If they can get the second win against the Redskins, they will be on pace for a good season.
Just saw this posted in light of all the Falcons injuries.
I have this strange feeling we wont see many Panther fans in the coming weeks, but I feel the saints fans will be coming from all over, if my blogging history serves me right
my flight back to Key West yesterday got bumped from 12 to 1:30 so Southwest gave me a $422 voucher so I might be going up for the Bucs vs Panthers Thurs. night game
I'm glad Cinci got the win last night. A team that talented who is in a 0-2 hole at home is a scary prospect.
It's very good.
I thought you were a Lasbo-tarian.
Tweets are protected...
@Reesypieces Wut? O.O
@ethan_fitz01 It takes a special woman to not be put to sleep by sci fi.
@ethan_fitz01 means she has time to give you a blowy
Gona have too
@King 50 Cal Other than his "I was wrong" article, has anyone seen RobertJ?
@King 50 Cal I'm very busy...won't be able to be around much
@King 50 Cal No Saint fans love their SBnation blog,they are all over there
@King 50 Cal I'm still around always, just can't comment much. Work has been busy as hell these last couple weeks.
@CONCHS333 You a Key West native? My grandma was born and raised there. Grew up there while Hemmingway was still raging.
@CONCHS333 That furious dude you see on the other sideline is Robert J.
@CONCHS333 Bring 2 new head coaches with you.
@CONCHS333 NM, brain fart.
@The Real CJammin Rough day at the call center in India, eh?
@The Real CJammin Cantcha just smoke that all away?
That's what scares me about Pittsburgh this week...
@Building With Clay is back SON That probably will be the best game of the week
The stat on 0-2 teams making the playoffs is scary.
@Building With Clay is back SON "I'm glad Cinci won, now they won't try as hard to win their next game."
^what BWC is trying to say^
@King 50 Cal Every Saint fan that was on the ESPN blog,is over there night and day.