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The Setup
Lions were coming off an exciting win over the Vikings. The holes on their offensive roster were pretty much filled in to provide Matthew Stafford a talented supporting cast of offensive linemen, receivers and Reggie Bsh. The Cards were coming off a gut-wrenching one-point loss to division rival Rams
which left many fans questioning the overall talent of the team. If the Lions were to lose, they'd be 1 & 1. If the Cardinals were tl lose, they'd be 0 & 2 facing two tough games on the road. Guess which team could least afford a loss?

The Lede
Card youngsters make key plays help tame an impressuve Lion team.


The Bottom Line:
Throughout the game, it seemed as though the Cards were fighting an uphill battle just to pull even. But their defense stiffened in the second half and pretty much held the Lions in check until suddenly it was 25 - 21 with less than 2-minutes to play, and we couldn't help but ask ourselves: "How'd that happen?

Key to our success had a lot to do with field position. Again and again, we'd find ourselves starting off somewhere near midfield, while it seemed as if the Lions were permanently bottled up "in the Twilight Zone" (inside their own 10). Credit Special Teams; especially Zastudil (who kept dropping punts inside the twenty) and our coverage teams (who prevented runbacks) and Feely (4 for 4) and Bethel (who blocked a FG). Other than Bethel's heroics, most of this stuff never makes the highlight films. It's practically invisible - but it does help answer the question: "How'd that happen? How did we find ourselves leading 25 - 21?

Game Recap

1st Quarter
  • Neither team scored. Akers missed a 52-yard FG and, when given a second chance due to penalty, missed his second attempt from 47-yards.

    First Quarter Score: Cardinals 0. - Lions 0.

2nd Quarter
  • A 47-yard Feely FG was met 4 plays later by a 72-yard Stafford to Megatron hookup. It looked as if Dansby narrowly missed jumping the slant route for an interception and distracted Peterson just enough to allow Johnson to grab enough of an edge to grab the pass anad outrun PP21. Lions 7 - Cards 3.

  • 6 plays after that, Palmer hit Ellington who was behind coverage down the right sideline. He made the catch and motored 36 yards for the score. Cardinals 10 - Lions 7.

  • Stafford came right back with a 10 play drive capped by 3-yard TD pass to Megatron. Lions 14 - Cardinals 10.

  • That was all the scoring for the first half.. Halftime Score: Lions 14 - Cardinals 10.

3rd Quarter
  • Early in the quarter, a botched handoff by Stafford resulted in a fumble recovered by Campbell. It gave the Cards the ball at the Lion 7, but we had to settle for a 23-yard Feely FG. One point game. Lions 14 - Cardinals 13.

  • Cards held the Lions to 3 & out and looked well on their way to moving deep into Lion territory when (on 3rd & 4 at the Lion 38) Palmer rolled right out of the pocket and thought he could hit Dray on the end of a crossing route, but Dray squatted down instead and Palmer threw to an empty space that was quickly occupied by A Levy who returned the interception :untouched by human hands: 66 yards for a Detroit TD. Lions 21 - Cardinals 13. 

    Cards responded with a 7 play drive resulting in another Feely FG.Lions 21 - Cardinals 16. 

  • Cards held the Lions to another 3 & out and moved to the Detroit 23 to end the quarter.. Third Quarter Score: Lions 21 - Cardinals 16. 

4th Quarter
  • Three plays later Feely nailed his 4th FG of the afternoon from 33 yards. Lions 21 - Cardinals 19. 

  • Detroit answered by driving to the Cardinal 29, but Akers' FG attempt from 47 yards was blocked by Justin Bethel. Card offense couldn't get past the Lion 44 and Zastudil kept the Lions penned at their 8. Cards (for the 3rd time in the game) held them to 3 & out. We got the ball back at our own 39 with 4:28 on the clock. A 31 yard pass interference call at the Detroit one set up a Mendenhall dive for a TD with 1:59 left on the clock. 2-point try was no good. Cards 25 - Lions 21.

  • (For most of the game, we seemed to be playing "uphill" in comeback mode. Yet there were were at the 2-minute warning ahead by 4 points. How did that happen)? Final Score: Cards 25 - Lions 21.

Game Stats

  • Palmer completed 22 of 39 passes for 248 yards, 1 TD and an interception. Stafford had nearly identical stats (24 for 36, 278 yards, 2 TD's and no picks.

  • Cards netted 87 yards rushing and only gave up 49 rushing yards.

  • Mendenhall netted 66 yards on 15 carries. Young Mr. Ellington picked up 20 yards on four carries

  • Both QB's got sacked one time apiece and lost the ball once each.

  • Palmer spread it around - 5 cmpletions to Dray, 3 each to K Taylor, Roberts &Floyd and 2 apiece to Fitz, Ellington and Mendenhall.

  • Ellington racked up 20 yards on the ground and 42 via the air.

  • Dasby led the defense with 8 tackles. Johnson and Mathieu had 6. PP21 had 4.

  •  Cards were penalized 7 times (Rams 8 - but there's seemed much more damaging)

  • Cards won the Time of Possession battle: 31:19 to 28:41

Bright Spots

  • Peterson's reverse-field roll-out pass bings a smile to my face whenever it comes to mind.

    The Young Guns (most notably Ellington. Jaron Brown, Kerry Taylor, Bethel, Mathieu and T Jefferson). They played like vets.

  • Tyrann's 1st-down-saving tackle of Burleson to stop the final Detroit possession.

    Jefferson's tackle that blew up a key Lion running play.

    With few if any exceptions, our offensive line did a good job of protecting Carson Palmer

The Dark Side

  • Peterson's reverse-field roll-out pass bings a smile to my face whenever it comes to mind.

    The Young Guns (most notably Ellington. Jaron Brown, Kerry Taylor, Bethel, Mathieu and T Jefferson). They played like vets.

  • Tyrann's 1st-down-saving tackle of Burleson to stop the final Detroit possession.

    Jefferson's tackle that blew up a key Lion running play.

    With few if any exceptions, our offensive line did a good job of protecting Carson Palmer

Last Word:
We're 1 & 1 (whew!) going into a couple of tough road games. So long as the team keeps grinding and doesn't take a game or two off, we're as good as most teams and can even give the elite NFL teams a run for their money. One thing this game demonstrated was that "what you see guys do (both good or bad) in preseason games, they're likely to repeat in the regular season. Onward!
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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012