The Cardinals played so well in certain areas and so poorly in others, but in the end couldn't make enough plays to beat the Rams in Bruce Arians' debut. Although they will be at home this week against the Lions, the struggles of St. Louis and the prowess of Detroit are a combination to be avoided.
The Cardinals struggled to keep Carson Palmer upright. He was sacked four times, knocked to the ground another six times and stripped twice. The Lions, although tactically different, rush the passer very well -- just like St. Louis. But unlike the Rams, the Lions' pass rush strength lies within their interior rushers: Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh.
Paul Fanaika held his own against the Rams' three techniques and was on an island more times than not. Although he did allow some penetrations and looked overmatched on a couple pass rushes, he continued to battle and played well enough to allow Palmer to throw for over 320 yards.
Lyle Sendlein, Daryn Colledge and Fanaika will be paramount against Detroit. Suh and Fairley will not only work 1-on-1 against Big Red's interior, but they also are very good at running twists and games.
When it comes to protecting Palmer, no assumption can be made with edge rushers. I know this, the coaches know this and, unfortunately, so does Palmer.