Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions

Sep 15, 2013, 7:53 PM | Updated: 11:12 pm

Game over

Cards get the first win of the Bruce Arians era.

1:09 left in fourth quarter

Lions come up short on the pass as Tyrann Mathieu makes a great tackle, and just like that this one will go to the Cardinals. It’s all victory formation from here.

Final score: Arizona 25, Detroit 21. Pretty fun game.

1:15 left in fourth quarter

Lions facing a fourth and four from their own 43. This is the play of the game (up to this point, anyway). Cards get a stop, Cards get a win. It’s that simple.

1:59 left in fourth quarter

Kickoff goes out of the end zone, Lions have it at their 20. This place is getting loud…first time that’s happened in a while.

1:59 left in fourth quarter

Cardinals drive the ball down the field, and a pass interference call gives Arizona the ball at the one. An incomplete pass is followed by a Mendenhall score. Two-point conversion attempt fails, but the Cards are up 25-21.

Defense has been great this half, if they can just get one more stop this one will be over.

4:28 left in fourth quarter

Cards force a HUGE three-and-out. Peterson returns the 58-yard punt just five yards, though, and Arizona takes over at its own 39. This may be their last chance to put a drive together, and they’ve got a short field with which to try and get at least a field goal.

5:43 left in fourth quarter

Refs say ruling on the field stands, which means they didn’t have enough to overturn it. If it had been called a catch on the field and then reviewed, it would have stayed as a catch. Tough luck for the Cardinals.

And on another note, Fitz is now questionable to return to the game.

Zastudil is brought on to punt, and this one is downed at the seven yard line. Cards lost a big timeout on the losing challenge, too.

5:43 left in fourth quarter

Facing 3rd and 7, Palmer throws across his body to find Michael Floyd for what would have been a first — if it was ruled a catch on the field. The receiver is sure he caught it, though, and Arians tossed his challenge flag. Replays appear to show that this was, indeed, a catch. Will the refs see conclusive evidence here?

7:08 left in fourth quarter

Cardinals win the challenge and get the first down. The drive continues…

7:08 left in fourth quarter

Palmer hits Ellington out of the backfield on 3rd and 6, and after being up-ended the RB lands and loses the ball. Refs ruled it a fumble that was recovered by Arizona on the field, but the Cardinals are challenging that not only was it not a fumble, but a first down, too.

Should be interesting, because this one is close.

8:43 left in fourth quarter

Defense holds the Lions to a field goal attempt, which is blocked by Justin Bethel. Ronald Talley recovers the ball and takes it to the Arizona 42. Kind of a big series coming up here.

14:17 left in fourth quarter

Cards don’t go much further, as a third down play fails (shocking) to pick up the first. Feely is brought on for a field goal, which he makes from 33-yards out. 21-19 Lions.

End of third quarter

An incomplete pass by Palmer makes it second and 10, which is where we’ll be when play resumes. The Cardinals are hanging in there, but could really use a touchdown here. Sound familiar?

Ball is on the Detroit 23, by the way.

1:29 left in third quarter

Cardinals get their first third-down conversion by way of a penalty that just so happened to wipe out a sack/fumble.

Palmer then hits Kerry Taylor with a ball down the field for a good gain, and when you add another 15 yards due to a personal foul on Detroit, Arizona is back in business.

2:38 left in third quarter

Defense forces a three-and-out, and the punt is fair caught at the Arizona 26. D has come to play today, especially this half. Can the offense capitalize?

4:14 left in third quarter

Well that was an interesting drive. Cardinals move down the field with some good runs and good passes, one of which was from Patrick Peterson to Kerry Taylor.

Besides the fact that it appears Peterson would have been a better option than anyone the Cardinals used at QB last season, the most disappointing thing is Arizona had to settle for another field goal. Feely boots it through, but they’re still down 21-16.

7:04 left in third quarter

Uhhh, oops. Facing a third and six, Palmer is pressured into making a pass that is picked off and returned 66 yards by DeAndre Levy for a touchdown. Given that the Cards were down a point and driving, that is an incredibly bitter pill to swallow.

Palmer’s second interception in two games, and while he’s looked really good otherwise, both his picks have been costly.

9:56 left in third quarter

Defense gets the stop and the Cards take over. First play is a 17-yard pass to Patrick Peterson. Yes, the defensive back. Cardinals near midfield.

10:32 left in third quarter

Kickoff is a touchback, and the Lions take over at their 20. They’re still up, and the turnover was of the unforced variety, so you have to think they still feel pretty good about things.

10:33 left in third quarter

OK, maybe you don’t get everything you ask for.

The Cards go basically nowhere, and a third down pass to Floyd comes up short of the end zone when Fitzgerald failed to make a block. Feely comes on for a 23-yard field goal, and while points are nice, Arizona still trails 14-13.

Missed a golden opportunity there.

11:55 left in third quarter

Ask and you shall receive! Bush fumbles the handoff (nobody touched him), and Campbell jumps on the ball at the Detroit seven.

Kind of need to score a TD here.

12:43 left in third quarter

Cards gain some yardage on Mendenhall runs, but drive stalls and they are forced to punt. Spurlock runs backwards on the return and is downed at the Lions’ six. Would be a good time for the D to force a turnover, or at least a three-and-out.

15:00 left in third quarter

Akers’ kick is a touchback, and the Cards will start at their 20.

Some interesting first half stats:

Palmer: 12-of-17 for 165 yards and a TD
Mendenhall: Four carries, 25 yards along with two receptions for 28 yards
Eight different Cards receivers caught a pass

On the Lions’ side:

Stafford: 16-of-20 for 210 yards and two TDs
Megatron: Four receptions for 96 yards and two TDs
Bush: Eight carries for 18 yards


Well that shows how much I know, as the Lions elect to sit on the ball and head into the half up 14-10.

Interesting 30 minutes of football, to say the least.

:53 left in second quarter

Cards get a first down but not much more, and Zastudil punts the ball away. Lions have it on their own 21, and with three timeouts to go (plus that Calvin Johnson guy), so they may try to tack on a few more points before the half.

1:55 left in second quarter

And just like that, a three-yard toss to Johnson in the corner of the end zone. Excellent route, great throw, and Lions regain the lead.

Congrats to anyone who had the foresight to put Calvin Johnson in their fantasy lineups today. Brilliant!

2:00 left in second quarter

Lions are driving. Detroit’s ball at the Arizona three, and the Cards have showed little resistance of late. The quick-pass game has worked well for the Lions, and either that (or a fade to Johnson) may be dialed up here after the break.

5:45 left in second quarter

Lions convert on a third down play with a reception by Reggie Bush, who is down on the ground after the tackle. The former Heisman Trophy winner* was on the field for a bit but ended up walking off.

Lions have the ball at their own 41.

7:32 left in second quarter

They responded very nicely, thank you very much.

Some good runs from Mendenhall and a great throw from Palmer to Fitz was followed up by an even better throw on a wheel route to Andre Ellington. You know, a play you may remember from an incomplete pass on 3rd and 2 last week in St. Louis. This one goes for a 36-yard TD, and the Cards are back on top.

By the way, Palmer is playing some good football.

10:20 left in second quarter

Kickoff sails out of the end zone. Cards have it at their own 20, let’s see how they respond.

10:20 left in second quarter

His name is Megatron, folks.

Matt Stafford throws a quick pass to Calvin Johnson, who takes the ball 72 yards for a touchdown. Karlos Dansby nearly knocked the ball down (or even picked it off), but the ball made it through to the receiver. Not much you can do about that, folks. Guy is the best in the business for a reason.

7-3 visitors.

11:44 left in second quarter

Some confusion on the kickoff as Spurlock nearly takes the ball out of the end zone before deciding it’d be best to stay put. The refs rule it a touchback, and it’s probably the right call.

11:44 left in second quarter

Drive stalls there, but Arizona still scores some points by way of a 47-yard Jay Feely field goal for the 3-0 lead.

Cards up, but certainly not in control.

13:39 left in second quarter

A nice play by Palmer leads to a 20-yard reception by Rashard Mendenhall, and just like that the Cards are in business.

Kind of fun watching a real QB, isn’t it?

14:24 left in second quarter

Calais Campbell comes up with Arizona’s first sack of the season on third down, but a good punt leaves Peterson with no return at the Arizona 48. Excellent chance for the Cardinals take an early lead on this drive, let’s see if they can come through.

End of first quarter

A shifty run by Reggie Bush goes for three and that’s where we’ll pick up when play resumes. Cardinals D with an excellent chance to force a punt here, and if it does so the offense will have good field position.

As it is, this first quarter was a little strange. No one on either team looked particularly great, but no one looked really bad, either.

The Cards can take solace in the fact that Palmer has looked pretty good, and the Lions can feel good about how they’ve moved the ball.

The result of it all is a 0-0 score, though, so take it for what it’s worth.

:38 left in first quarter

Cardinals move a little but stall, and decide against going for it on fourth-and-one near midfield. How very anti-ASU of them.

Zastudil’s punt is a good one, as it is fair caught at the seven. Defense is back on the field.

Early thoughts; Detroit’s offense has moved the ball but stalled, which says something. Not sure what (is the defense buckling down when necessary or is Detroit just waiting to explode?).

3:28 left in first quarter

Lions pick up some yardage but the defense holds.

The Lions brought out David Akers for a 52-yard field goal, which he pushed left. However, the Cards were flagged for ‘running into the kicker’, which gave the veteran another shot, this time from 47-yards out.

He pushed it right. Who needs consistency, anyway?

So, yards were gained, but no points scored, and the Cards go back on offense at their own 37.

10:29 left in first quarter

Well, first play went to Fitz for a first, and the Cards picked up some yards by way of some excellent Carson Palmer passes. However, the QB missed Fitz on an open deep ball, and then the receiver walked off the field (before a third down play).

The third down play went to Andre Roberts (on another excellent throw), but he could not hang on and the Cards were forced to punt. A holding penalty on the return has the Lions backed up to their six.

12:41 left in first quarter

D looks good, and survives a well-designed Detroit screen on third and long to force a punt. Patrick Peterson returns it to the Arizona 21, which is where we get our first look at the offense.

And by the way, Fitz is playing, though with his injury who knows for how long and how effective.

15:00 left in first quarter

Cardinals kick off to start, with Jay Feely sending it to the end zone.

Lions start at their own 20, we get an early look art at Arizona’s D against one of the league’s better offenses.

7:00 until kickoff

The Cardinals’ starters were announced, and as Doug Franz pointed out, there wasn’t much cheering for tight end Jim Dray. A Rob Housler crowd, perhaps?

Anyway, we’re a few minutes from getting this one started and there are plenty of story lines to follow.

How will the Cardinals handle Detroit’s defensive line?

Can Patrick Peterson slow down Calvin Johnson?

Can the Cardinals win their home opener?

We’ll find out soon enough.

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Notes from the Nest: Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions