Despite Second Half Rally, Arizona Cardinals Beat Detroit Lions 31-24

The Arizona Cardinals traveled to Detroit with the NFC West division title only two wins away. The only problem was that they may have over-looked the struggling Detroit Lions. After beginning the first half 17-0, the Lions made it uncomfortably close after a 100 yard interception return for a touchdown and a 64 yard rushing touchdown by Maurice Morris. The Cardinals offense responded with an 18 yard touchdown by Beanie Wells and a 5 yard touchdown by Anquan Boldin. In the end, the Lions were unable to drive for the game-winning touchdown, and the Cardinals improved their record to 9-5.

The positives

- Beanie Wells had his first 100 yard rushing game of the season and gave the Cardinals some explosive running when the passing game was faltering. Wells also scored a 4th quarter touchdown that swung some momentum back in the Cards favor.

- The passing defense gave their best effort for a second straight game. They didn't allow a 100 yard receiver and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions on the day, making his season total 5. They also limited Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson to just 3 catches for 35 yards. Rashad Johnson saw his most action since the preseason and seemed to fill in fine for the majority of the game. He nearly had an interception on the Lions last offensive play of the game, but it luckily had no effect as it was 4th down.

- Anquan Boldin stepped up noticeably with Larry Fitzgerald not being 100%. Boldin was targeted 11 times and caught 6 passes for 72 yards and the go-ahead score to give the Cardinals the lead and eventually win the game.

- Despite some pressure from the Lions defense, the Cardinals offensive line held up well, only allowing 2 sacks and 3 QB hits.

- Mike Nugent filled in for the injured Neil Rackers and the Cardinals kicking game didn't skip a beat. Nugent made all of the extra points and knocked in a 48 yard field goal in the first half.

- Ben Graham played another spectacular game, punting 3 of his kicks inside the Lions 20, and also averaged 50.3 yards a punt.

The negatives

- Kurt Warner may still be suffering the effects of the hip pointer he tweaked against the Vikings three weeks ago. He wasn't limping around the field but he didn't have as much zip on any of his passes. Many passes fell at the receivers feet or were over-thrown. He also fumbled the ball to end the 1st half and threw an interception that resulted in a 100 yard return for a touchdown. Warner redeemed himself as he usually does, when he led the Cardinals on their game-winning drive and threw the touchdown to Anquan Boldin.

- The Cardinals rush-defense was slashed again, and gave up 126 rushing yards and a touchdown to the former Seahawk Maurice Morris. The Cardinals have allowed two 100-yard rushers the last two weeks since they held Adrian Peterson to 19 rushing yards.

- Mental errors and turnovers haunted the entire game. The Cardinals turned the ball over 3 times and the Lions capitalized by scoring 14 points. The Cardinals also committed 8 penalties for 65 yards. Two of them came from Bryan Robinson, for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that resulted in 30 yards. Turnovers and penalties have plagued the Cardinals lately, and isn't something they can continue if they want to make a run in the playoffs.

- Play-calling was questionable at times, mainly on 3rd and short situations when the Cardinals became very predictable. The Cardinals were 4-12 on 3rd downs, and that was one of the main reasons the Lions were able to stay in the game till the 4th quarter.

Final thoughts

While I am upset that the Cardinals couldn't dominate the now 2-12 Lions, I'll take a win know matter which way it comes. The Cardinals did show signs of life when most of the momentum turned in the Lions favor, and they were able to battle back to score on a game-winning drive. Kurt Warner needs to get healthy fast, and the Cardinals may need to show a stronger sense of urgency with the Rams coming to Arizona next week. What are your thoughts on the game?

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