In the Cardinals first home game of the season they live up to the old billing of being the Cardiac Cardinals. This game had it all, moments where you wanted to laugh, cry or throw your remote with the violence of a Spartan warrior. In the end the Arizona Cardinals won and on the backs of several impressive rookie performances.
Starting off shaky the Cardinals defense looked like it was going to be outmatched against the Detroit Lionsoffense. Reggie Bush looked as good as advertised breaking tackles and stretching plays. Calvin Johnson made Patrick Peterson look bad with a huge 70 yard TD and another TD on a jump ball. All in all Johnson won the match up on a huge first half but was unable to carry the team in the second half. The Cardinals defense stiffened up in the second half and shut out the Lions offense. If not for an errant pass by Carson Palmer they would not have put any points on the board as they could barely move the ball.
The offense of the Cardinals sputtered, but did enough to earn the Cardinals their first victory. The team struggled converting only 1 of 12 third downs and Carson completed only 56% of passes for 248 yards but the Cardinals were able to effectively run the ball with Rashad Mendenhall which was a key cog in the team's victory. The former Steeler had 66 yards and the go ahead TD on 15 carries; a healthy 4.4 YPC average. However it a rookie that was the offensive player of the day though for the Cardinals. Rookie 6th round pick Andre Ellington caught his first career TD and combined for 62 yards on just 6 touches! The most impressive part of it all was the Larry Fitzgerald was out most of the 2nd half after aggravating his hamstring injury.
On the subject of rookies let's not forget WR Kerry Taylor who was pulled up from the practice squad this week catching 3 balls for 40 yards. Nor can we forget the ever dynamic Tryann Mathieu who made a critical tackle on 4 and 4 for the Lions with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game. Just that alone would have been good enough but the youngster also had a blocked pass and several other solid tackles.
Finally, big credit must go the Cardinals offensive line which surrendered only one sack to arguably the best defensive line in the NFL. The interior played well in pass protection and in blocking the run. And to truly blow your mind, Levi Brown committed zero penalties nor gave up a sack. Yes you read that right.
This was a cruel victory to our hearts and livers but at least tomorrow morning is going to be much easier for us all.