The Arizona Cardinals defense did just about everything it could to win Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.
Calais Campbell and his crew were undoubtedly sore after the 14-6 victory, during which they allowed only 262 total yards and 11 first downs and forced 10 three-and-outs.
Two quick first-quarter touchdown passes from Arizona quarterback Drew Stanton (who started in lieu of an injured Carson Palmer) to a previously quiet Michael Floyd put Arizona up early. Detroit could only answer with two field goals and at 14-6 the score stayed.
With just over 11 minutes left in the game, a Cardinals punt was stopped at about the half-yard line. Yet as Arizona’s Justin Bethel gained possession of the ball and realized he was falling backward into the end zone, he shoveled the ball to a teammate, who then tipped it right into the hands of Detroit’s Jeremy Ross for a 49-yard return.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians challenged the play, arguing that Bethel had possession of the ball at the 1. After a review, Arians won the challenge and the Lions had to start from the 1.
And once again, the Cardinals defense saved the rest of the team’s score-starved behinds by making a huge stop on Detroit’s resulting fourth-and-one.
Yet again Arizona could not capitalize offensively, and so after a three-and-out, the defense jogged back on the field once more.
Seems almost unfair to ask anything more of the defense, but that's where the Cardinals are at. Do they have one more stop in them?
— Adam Green (@theAdamGreen) November 17, 2014
A monster sack by Jerraud Powers followed by a wrap-up by Larry Foote and botched Lions snap set up another three-and-out for Detroit. Defensive mission accomplished.
And finally, the offense returned the favor. An 11-yard zinger from Stanton to Larry Fitzgerald got the Arizona first down with two minutes left, and Detroit’s lack of timeouts sealed it.
What did the Cardinals’ victory look like by the numbers?
Arizona has now won every single home game thus far in 2014. The six victories at University of Phoenix Stadium have helped with the 91-game sellout streak.
Additionally, the Cardinals sit at an NFL-best 9-1 for the first time since 1948 and have won their last six consecutive games.
— NFL (@nfl) November 17, 2014
Arizona’s two quick touchdowns — the second at 6:06 in the first quarter — were followed by a scoring drought for the rest of the game.
In fact, as Arizona Sports 98.7 FM‘s Craig Grialou pointed out, Stanton’s game looked a little like this:
— 6-8 for 129 yards and two touchdowns in his first two possessions
— 8-13 for 91 yards and two interceptions in his next six possessions
Despite this, Stanton had a career day, completing 21 of 32 passes for 306 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Floyd’s only two receptions of the day were both for the only two touchdowns Arizona would score.
John Brown was Stanton’s target of choice with five receptions for 69 yards — an average of 13.8 yards per catch.
Detroit had previously acquired a reputation for fourth-quarter comebacks — they had three on the season before they came to Arizona.
The Lions’ attempt at a fourth fourth-quarter comeback this season was solidly stopped by the Cardinals defense, who completely shut out Detroit in the second half.
— Craig Grialou (@CraigAZSports) November 17, 2014
“3” is also the minimum number of games by which the Cardinals lead their NFC West opponents.
Fitzgerald’s 22-yard reception in the first half put him over 12,000 career receiving yards. At 31 years and 77 days of age, he’s now the second-youngest player to achieve the honors (Randy Moss was 30 years and 306 days old).
— MarkDalton (@CardsMarkD) November 16, 2014
Arizona will face the Seahawks (6-4) on the road on Nov. 23.