The Detroit Lions scored a nice win over the Vikings in week one, but that was a home game. This week, the Lions headed on the road to play the Arizona Cardinals. This was definitely a winnable game, but the fact that Nick Fairley was unable to play hurt. Detroit's strength is their defensive line, and Arizona's weakness is pass protection, but the Lions do not have depth at defensive tackle. Could the Lions overcome not having Fairley on the road to move to 2-0?
There was no scoring in the first quarter. In the second, Arizona struck first with a field goal. Soon thereafter, Matthew Stafford hit Calvin Johnson in stride, and Johnson strides in fantastical fashion, so he turned it into a 72-yard touchdown. The Cardinals replied with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer to Andre Ellington, but then Stafford hit Johnson again for a 3-yard score. At halftime, it was 14-10 in favor of the Lions.
In the third, the Cards hit another field goal. A few minutes later, DeAndre Levy intercepted a Palmer pass and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown. Plus, this time Ndamukong Suh didn't make a bad block, so we will be spared hours of talking heads clutching their pearls over what an awful guy Suh is and how he's ruining the NFL. Arizona added another field goal in the third, making it a 21-16 game.
Arizona then kicked another field goal to make it a mere two point game. The Lions were clinging to their lead late, but then Rashard Mendenhall rushed for a touchdown to take the lead with less than two minutes left. Detroit got the ball, and they had the chance to score. However, a fourth down pass was broken up, and that was it. The Lions lost by the score of 25-21.
So close to a road win, but, alas, so far. Neither team played all that well on offense, but the Cardinals were just good enough. Mostly because their kicker, Jay Feely went 4-for-4, while David Akers went 0-for-2. Well, that hurts. Additionally, the Lions did not get much pressure on Palmer. They only got one sack. Also, Reggie Bush got hurt and, perhaps not coincidentally, Detroit could not run the ball in this game. Joique Bell led the team with 31 yards rushing on eight carries, although both Bell and Bush contributed in the passing game. Megatron caught six passes for 116 yards. Stafford went 24-for-36 for 278 yards, but he also fumbled and the Cardinals recovered.
A tough loss for the Lions. If they want to make the playoffs, and I imagine they do, this was probably a game they needed to win. They just couldn't quite pull it off. The missed field goals hurt. Eight penalties for 101 yards hurts. Not getting pressure on Palmer hurts. Detroit did not play all that bad in this game, but they did not play good enough to win. They will have to rebound next week.