ARIZONA CARDINALS

Arizona Cardinals offense MIA in Detroit

Sep 10, 2017, 2:16 PM | Updated: 3:58 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half ...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws against the Detroit Lions during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

It’s one game. Pour that knowledge in a salt shaker and sprinkle it over everything you are about to read in the wake of the Detroit Lions’ 35-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener Sunday.

Throughout training camp and the preseason, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said his offense would be better than last season’s substandard performance.

Running back David Johnson was a year older and year better. His maturation would further ease the pressure on the passing game and create more matchups headaches for opponents.

Quarterback Carson Palmer’s altered workout regimen and limited throwing had him feeling fresher, stronger and more confident about the season ahead, despite his advancing age.

John Brown was largely healthy, giving Arizona the deep threat that had been so critical to the offensive performances in 2014 and 2015.

The offensive line protection would be better, Arians insisted.

“I just watched these guys practice for 35 days,” he said last week. “They all look like they are better.”

None of them were on Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit.

The offensive line struggled to block a largely base Lions defense even before left tackle D.J. Humphries left the game in the first half with a knee injury. His injury, the extent of which is still unknown, casts further doubt over a unit that had significant questions despite Arians’ bravado.

Palmer threw three interceptions; he was off the mark on a number of other relatively simple throws and seemed out of sync with his receivers. He completed 27 of 48 passes for 269 yards.

“Poor,” Arians told Arizona Sports’ Paul Calvisi after the game when assessing Palmer’s play. “High throws are usually mechanics, scooting up, scooting up, playing too fast and then putting too much on it. Those are things that are easily correctable but it cost us this one.”

John Brown caught four passes. The longest was 12 yards.

Johnson gained just 23 yards on 11 carries. He did have six catches for 68 yards but he fumbled twice (losing one) before leaving the game with a wrist injury whose severity is unknown. Johnson’s second fumble started an avalanche of 26 consecutive Lions points.

“We should have had a comfortable lead in that game and we just couldn’t put the ball in the end zone,” Arians said. “You could put all the situations that we’ve practiced all spring and all summer and we failed at it.”

There were other issues at work in Detroit. Veteran kicker Phil Dawson was supposed to revive a kicking game that may have cost the Cardinals three wins and a playoff spot last season, but Dawson shanked a 32-yard field goal off the left upright in the second quarter.

The defense, which kept Arizona in the game early thanks to a pick-six and superlative play by cornerback Justin Bethel, gave way late, with Bethel getting beat a coupe times.

But this loss should be laid at the feet of the Cardinals offense. It has to be better. Much better.

The Cardinals will likely face Indianapolis without quarterback Andrew Luck next week. Win and many wounds will be healed in the over-reactionary world of the NFL.

On the other hand, lose with a Monday game upcoming against the Cowboys and angry running back Ezekiel Elliott? That’s a fear nobody wants to face this early.

Life Changer Loans
Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate wears cleats adorned with a remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Detroit Lions strong safety Tavon Wilson intercepts an Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer pass during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) breaks a tackle after intercepting a Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford pass for an 82-yard touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate wears cleats adorned with a remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) celebrates with strong safety Antoine Bethea (41) after intercepting a Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford pass for an 82-yard touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate wears cleats adorned with a remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Detroit Lions defensive tackle Anthony Zettel (69) stops Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate wears cleats adorned with a remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) hands off to running back David Johnson (31) against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions free safety Glover Quin, right, tackles Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Protesters rally for former quarterback Colin Kaepernick outside Ford Field and an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Protesters march in support of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick outside Ford Field and an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Arizona Cardinals in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions punter Kasey Redfern (2) runs the ball out of the end zone as Arizona Cardinals running back Elijhaa Penny (35) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (55) sacks Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) runs past the reach of Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones, left, during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals cornerback Justin Bethel (28) celebrates his 82-yard interception for a touchdown with Patrick Peterson (21) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyvon Branch (27) tackles Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) on a run during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate (15) is brought down by Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyvon Branch (27) as Antoine Bethea (41) looks on during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals linebacker Haason Reddick (43) tackles Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones (11) catches a 6-yard touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) defends during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) breaks the tackle of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby (56) during the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams (33) runs for a 3-yard touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is injured against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Johnson left the field for x-rays. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams (33) reacts with Evan Boehm (70) after scoring a 3-yard touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez) Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) walks off the field with medical staff for X-rays during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

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