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The Setup
Opening game at Glendale. Cards heralded a new HC with a unique offensive system and a young, small-in-stature QB to run it. New HC Kliff Kingsbury kept his new offense under wraps during preseason, and Cardinal fans weren't sure what to expect scheme-wise and from individua players.

Lions arte in Year #2 of the Matt Patricia regime. Patricia made a key change in his offense when he replaced last year;'s OC Jim Bob Cooter with run-oriented Darrell Bevell and drafted a multiifaceted though "old school TEto hook up with QB Matthew Stafford in tight end TJ Hockenson.

Patricia also beefed up both his offensive and defensive lines, sending out signals that his new-look squad would be bigger and tougher.

Murray spearheads 27 - 27 comeback "victory."

The Bottom Line:
If the roof had been opened, the skies would have been a deep, gloomy gray. 11-minutes were left in regulation. Cardinals trailed the Lions by eighteen, 24 - 6. And that was just the score - Kyler Murray looked rattled by the speed of the pro game. The Cardinal defense gave up bushels of easy yardage and cheap points. Cardinal weaknesses in the secondary and offensive lines looked every bit as glaring as they were during last year's Wilks regime.

According to Kingsbury: "“It was three quarters of the worst offense I’ve seen in my life and it was my fault,” (The playcalling was “too cute”).

We were quite willing to concede the season and focus instead on a handful of good plays, emerging young players and steady progress as the season progressed.

But 11-or-so minutes of regulation later, when the dust settled, the Cards were on their way to a 27- 27 tie. In the 4th quarter alone, Kingsbury had posted 15 of 19 passes for 154 yards, 2 TD's and a 2-point conversion. In the OT, he registered another 84-yards thru the air.

Murray finished the contest with totals of 29 of 54 for 308 yards. He threw one interception. Murray was actually outrushed by Stafford 22 - 13.

In some ways, this game was the Cardinals' version of Preseason Game #3 (where you get t see how the starting units stack up, how the team looks overall and who the emerging young players are). Here's a thumbnail:

K Murray
For the first 3 quarters, he looked uncomfortable keeping up with the speed of the pro game. (The game seemed to be handling Murray rather than vice versa). But early in the 4th quarter, he seemed to get his "sea legs" and started executing throws he struggled with in the previous 3 quarters. Envisioning what Murray will be like as he works on developing various aspects of his game should be very exciting for Cardinal fans - the rapidity of that development will have a major bearing on the improvement of the entire team.

David Johnson
Looked much more like the David Johnson of a few years ago - ran with more abandon. Caught that nifty TD pass.

Overall not a good outing (they had trouble separating and lost too many 50-50 battles. KeySean Johnson wasn't living up to his early hype. Kirk wasn't as glue-handed as we'd hope. But Fitz came up with clutch catches later in the game and he and Murray seemed be wind up on the same page more often as the game wore on.

Offensive Line
It didn't cave. Some questions about whether the refs were picking on Sweezy. Backup RT Murray (Yeah, same last name as the QB) came in off the street to start. Yet the Card OL was able to open a few tiny holes for Johnson and by and large kept Kyrell Murray from getting repeatedly flattened.

Defensive Front Seven
Did a better-than expected job of stopping the run.

C Jones and T-Sizzle are a super-human force. Their presence helps the secondary do their jobs with less risk. Saw a little bit of Reddick - nothing especially impressive.

Started off out of synch (i.e. left receivers uncovered, allowed Hockenson to be wide open in the back of the end zone). But they tightened up - ironically at the same time our offense became more potent. We had suspected that the absence of both starting corners - Patrick Peterson and Alford - would leave Cardinal coverage extremably vulnerable, but three backups (Brock, C Jones and Murphy) played like starters on a capable unit). Brock dropped the pick that would have likely scored the winning TD or at least put us in chip-shot range, but he otherwise played a solld game

Turning into "Old Reliable."

Big test will be next Sunday in Baltimore. (Watching 2 jackrabbits, L Jackson and K Murray) duke it out should be a treat.

Game Log
We've had trouble locating play-by-play logs worth posting here so please bear with us. When we find it, we'll post it here.

1st Quarter

No Score

1st Quarter Score: Cards 0 - Chargers 0 2nd Quarter

2nd Quarter

  • FG - Prater - 43 yards - Lions 3 - Cards 0.

    TD - 47 yd Pass - Stafford to Amendola - Lions 10 - Cards 0

    TD - 8 Yd Pass - Sfafford to Golladay - Lions 17 - Cards 0

    FG - 6 Yd Kick - Gonzalez - Lions 17 - Cards 3

    Halftme Score: Lions 17 - Cards 3

3rd Quarter

FG- 42-Yd Kick - Gonzalez - Lions 17 - Cards 6

    • Third Quarter Score: Lions 17 - Cards 6
4th Quarter

TD - 23 Yd Pass - Stafford to Hockenson - Lions 24 - Cards 6

FG - Gonzalez - 22 yds - Lions 24 - Cards 9.

TD - Murray to D Johnson - 27 Yds - Lions 24 - Cards 16

TD - Murray to Fitz - 4 YDs (2XP Good) - Lions 24 - Cards 24

Final Score: Lions 17 - Cards 3


FG - Gonzalez - 28 Yds - Cards 27 - Lions 24

FG - Prater - 33 Yds - Cards 27 - Liona 27

Final Score- Cards 27 - Lions 27

Notable Game Stats.

  • First Downs: Cards 21 - Detroit 23

    Third Down Conversions: Cards 9/22 - Detroit 3/18

    Total Rushing Yards: Cards 112 - Lions 116

    Total Net Yards: Cards 387 - Lions 477

    Passing: Murray 29/54...308 Yds...2 TDs...1 Int
    ................Stafford 27/45...385 Yds...3 TDs...0 Int.

    Passing Yards: Cards 308 - Lions 385

    Sacks: Cards 3 - Lions 5

    Penalties: Cards 7 for 35-yds- Lions 9 for 59-yds

    Time of Possession: Cards 30:37 - Lions 39:23

    Rushing: DJohnson 18 carries for 82 yds
    ................ Zenner 12 carries for 54 yds and 1 TD .

    Receiving: Fitz 8 for 113 yds...D Johnson 6 for 55 yds...K Johnson 5 for 46
    ................: Byrd 4 for 42...Kirk 4 for 32

Bright Spots

  • Team in general became more and more used to speed of pro game

    D Johnson looked like the old D Johnson

  • Just about every unit improved its play as the game wore on.

Loved the C Jones/T Sizzle pass rushing tandem.

Brock, C Jones and Murphy played better than average backups

The Dark Side

  • Murray throws off back feet too much.

    KeSean Johnsondidn't play to expectations

    OL and DL played better than expected.

    Fitz quietly had a huge day (8 catches/over 100 yds)

    Glaring mental errors - mainly in coverage - earlier in game.

    We need to improve our "batting average' fre contested balls.

Last Word:
'A rare case where a "tie" feels as good as a win. Few teams have mounted comebacks as huge as the one the Cards pulled off vs. Detroit. Only concern is "Projectability" - i.e. Is Detroit really thtat good? If we play Baltimore the way we played Detroit in the 4, can we beat them?

Game vs. Ravens should tell us a lot about the Cardinals.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012