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Bird Bits: Cardinals break nine-game skid

Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won’t tell you everything that happened in a football game. So, we will give you Bird Bits providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Cardinals’ 38-10 win over the Detroit Lions.

The Story:

Ding-dong, the streak is dead. The Cardinals feasted on Lions’ miscues in a 21-point second quarter. Stefan Logan muffed a Dave Zastudil punt and Michael Adams recovered for Arizona, setting up Beanie Wells’ five-yard touchdown run one play later that tied the score at 7-7.

Two series later, Patrick Peterson picked off a Matthew Stafford pass intended for Calvin Johnson at the Detroit 34-yard line and returned it to all the way down to the Lions’ three. Wells punched it in two plays later from two yards out to give Arizona the lead 14-7.

On the very next drive, Rashad Johnson stepped in front of a Stafford pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7.

Then in the fourth quarter with the Cardinals leading 24-10 and the Lions facing a fourth down at the Arizona four-yard line, Stafford was picked by Greg Toler, who took it 102 yards to the house to seal the deal.

Wells capped the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 31-yard touchdown run.

The Good:

The Cardinals’ defense bounced back very nicely from last Sunday’s historical 58-0 beating at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.

Calais Campbell excelled on defense for Arizona. The defensive end had seven tackles, a sack and a pass defensed.

Arizona confused and frustrated Stafford all day. The Detroit signal caller completed 24-of-50 passes for 246 yards and three interceptions. His 37.6 quarterback rating was his lowest of the season and the third-lowest of his career.

The Bad:

The Cardinals offense, despite the number of points on the board, struggled again against an average Detroit defense. Arizona mustered just 196 yards of offense on the day and converted 2-of-12 third down opportunities.

With all the help from the defense and special teams, quarterback Ryan Lindley didn’t have to do much — and he didn’t. The rookie completed 14-of-21 passes for just 104 yards and an interception. But, he does get credit for his first NFL win as a starter.

The struggle to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball continued. The six-time Pro Bowler was targeted just five times in the game and finished with four catches for 22 yards.


• Greg Toler’s 102-yard interception return for a touchdown was the longest in franchise history. The previous record was shared by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had a 99-yard return in December of 2008 against St. Louis and Adrian Wilson who had a 99-yarder against Atlanta in October of 2006.

• Adrian Wilson registered a sack for the Cardinals and became only the sixth player in league history to record 25 sacks and 25 interceptions in a career. While talking to the media following the game, Wilson got choked up when talking about accomplishment.

• Calvin Johnson of Detroit finished with nine catches for 113 yards. It was Johnson’s seventh consecutive 100-yard game, which ties an NFL record held by Charley Hennigan of the Houston Oilers in 1961 and Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys in 1995.

• Johnson is also the first receiver in league history to have consecutive 1,600-yard seasons.

• The Cardinals’ 38 points is their season high, and the first time they’ve scored over 30 points in a game since December 12, 2010 when they beat the Denver Broncos 43-13 at University of Phoenix Stadium — a span of 32 games.

• Arizona has now gone 21 straight quarters without a passing touchdown. Their last came on a 31-yard strike from John Skelton to Larry Fitzgerald in the third quarter of a 31-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers on November 4.

Coming Up Next:

The Cardinals conclude the home portion of their 2012 home schedule when they host the Chicago Bears (8-6) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.