Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley completed 14-of-21 passes for 104 yards and an interception Sunday against the Lions. He was sacked once and had a quarterback rating of 58.4.
But the most important number was the one on the scoreboard when the game clock reached 0:00, and that one read Arizona 38, Detroit 10.
The Cardinals ended their nine-game losing streak and Lindley, a sixth round pick out of San Diego State in April, earned his first NFL win.
“It feels good,” Lindley said, noting how tough the last couple months have been for the team. “Just how it feels for us, getting off our back, the confidence we’re going to have going into these last two games and going into the offseason is big.
“We wanted to pull this one out and be able to go in feeling good these last two weeks.”
Of course, the Cardinals have to feel better about things if only due to the fact that their losing streak is over. However, Lindley still has yet to throw a touchdown pass,
is completing just 51.1 percent of his passes and has thrown six interceptions. Add in that the team signed quarterback Brian Hoyer just last week, it would seem Lindley may not have a firm grasp on the starting job.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said Lindley “played better” Sunday, pointing to a couple of throws the rookie made that left him impressed.
“You can definitely see improvement as far as how he mentally and physically went into that game and handled it,” the coach said. “Now, we’ve got to see better as we continue to progress, that’s the expectation. I want to see him make some more throws, have a little bit more production, and hopefully that will happen.”
No one is declaring Lindley to be the team’s quarterback of the future or anything, and while Sunday’s game was not great, it was a step in the right direction. The 23-year-old said his comfort level is “a lot different” now from where it was when he made his NFL debut a few weeks ago in Atlanta, so one could surmise the should continually to gradually improve.
“I feel a lot better, the game’s slowing down,” he said. “The biggest thing, I think, is knowing how to take the game all the way through, how to ride it out.
“I think I learned a lot going through New York (a 7-6 loss) and what happened there, making the mistakes that I did.”