In a bit of a role reversal from Week 1, the Arizona Cardinals came back to stun the Detroit Lions 25-21 behind 12 unanswered points in the second half.
With the win, Arizona moved to 1-1 on the season, but its first victory of 2013 was filled with both highs and lows.
Here’s a look back at all the action by the numbers.
Rashard Mendenhall had the eventual game-winning touchdown run, but Todd Bowles’ defense had a lot to do with the final outcome. In the second half, Arizona didn’t allow a single point and forced three 3-and-outs, a fumble and a late turnover on downs. Detroit only ran 25 offensive plays over the final 30 minutes.
Despite the victory, the offense had its fair share of issues, particularly on third down. Carson Palmer and Co. completed just one of their 11 opportunities on third down.
Rookie Tyrann Mathieu had another impressive performance with six total tackles, none bigger than his last one on Nate Burleson to seal the victory with 1:09 remaining in the game.
All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald was active for Sunday’s game, but he was limited because of a hamstring injury. Fitzgerald, who sat out most of the second half, had two catches for 33 yards.
Dating back to 2010, Arizona has won four straight home openers at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Just two games into his NFL career, running back Andre Ellington is doing his best to make Cardinals general manager Steve Keim look like a master talent evaluator. Ellington, a sixth-round pick in 2013, had four carries for 20 yards to go along with a team-leading 42 yards receiving and a touchdown.
With Sunday’s win, Arizona extended its home winning streak to seven games against Detroit. The streak dates back to 1993.
Against the Rams, Carson Palmer had three main weapons in Fitzgerald, Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd. Sunday, he had several more. In all, Arizona had nine different players amass more than 10 yards receiving.
While the defense deserves a lot of credit for the victory, Amos Jones’ special teams group had a big hand in it, as well. Justin Bethel’s blocked field goal with less than nine minutes to play didn’t set up a go-ahead score, but it did change the complexion of the game. The blocked field goal was the 15th recorded by the Cardinals since 2008 — an NFL record.
With Fitzgerald sitting on the sidelines for most of the second half, Kerry Taylor, who was working on the practice squad as recently as Friday, stepped up. The former ASU standout had three catches for 40 yards in the win.
Patrick Peterson wasn’t exactly a stone wall against Calvin Johnson (six catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns) on the defensive end. But, the two-time Pro Bowler did his best to make contributions in other ways, including a 17-yard reception and a 17-yard completion to Taylor.
Palmer has been a drastic upgrade from the four quarterbacks the Cardinals trotted out a season ago, but when the 33-year-old has made a mistake through the air it’s proven costly. In the third quarter of Sunday’s contest, the former Heisman Trophy winner was looking for tight end Jim Dray on third and four from the Detroit 38-yard line. He completed the pass, the only problem was it landed in the arms of Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy. Levy returned it for an easy 66-yard touchdown.
Ellington’s 36-yard touchdown in the second quarter marked the first time since Sept. 30, 2012 that the Cardinals scored a touchdown through the air at home — a span of 350 days.