Matthew Stafford Battled A Back Injury All Week In Practice Before Continuing His Consecutive Starts Streak Today In Arizona.
The Detroit Lions came out firing on their opening drive with multiple solid plays by quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back LeGarrette Blount. They worked their way into Cardinal territory before Arizona Safety Budda Baker stripped Blount and ended Detroit’s chance at an opening drive score.
The first quarter did not feature much action beyond that. The first six drives went as follows: fumble, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt.
Detroit took a possession into the second quarter with the ball at midfield. They managed to work the ball inside the 30-yard line for what would be a 47-yard Matt Prater field goal. That made it 3-0 Lions five minutes into the second quarter.
The Cardinals managed to get into borderline field goal range via a facemask penalty and a 54-yard kick by Zane Gonzalez hit the left upright with 5:17 to go in the first half. The Lions would keep their 3-0 lead and increase what has to be a league record amount of opponents field goals to hit the uprights in a season. Detroit also would get to start their next drive at the 44-yard line.
After the missed field goal, Detroit took a 3-0 lead into the halftime locker room. It’s worth noting that the Lions lost both defensive end Ziggy Ansah and standout rookie defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand early in the first half.
The Lions appeared to force a turnover on Arizona’s second-half opening drive. Cornerback DeShawn Shead recovered a fumble, but upon review, it was determined that the receiver’s knee was down. Nothing would come of the drive for Arizona though and Detroit was able to force another punt.
It took a while but midway through the third quarter, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald made his first catch of the game. That catch was number 1,282 for his career and broke an NFL record. Fitz passed Jerry Rice for the most catches with one team in an NFL career.
Shortly after Fitz’s catch, cornerback Darius Slay picked off quarterback Josh Rosen and took it 67-yards for the first touchdown of the afternoon by either team. This gave Detroit a rather commanding 10-0 lead late in the third quarter.
The Cardinals gave Detroit a heavy dose of Trent Sherfield today. Sherfield, an undrafted rookie wide receiver, seemed to be a featured player when Arizona had their little amount of success on offense. With the aid of Sherfield, Arizona did manage to work their way downfield and avoid a shutout with a field goal from kicker Zane Gonzalez which made it 10-3 with eight minutes to go.
Detroit responded to the Cardinals field goal with a heavy dose of running back Zach Zenner and boy was it effective. The Lions offense was poor all day, but Zenner had seven carries for 43 yards and a touchdown on Detroit’s putaway drive that made it 17-3.
The defense had quite a few notable plays in what was a solid overall performance for the unit. Linebacker Jarrad Davis looked like he was on a mission in the first half of this game. The injuries to Hand and Ansah are both very unfortunate.