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Cardinals vs. Lions: The Good and the Bad

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There was plenty of good to take away from the Cardinals victory over Detroit on Sunday.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

But as always, some areas of the game left much to be desired.  Let's take a look at the good and the bad from the Cardinals' week 5 win over the Lions.

The Good

The run game: It seems like just yesterday we were complaining about the team's pass-heavy offense, and lamenting the lack of a quality back.  Well, those days are long gone.  On Sunday, all three of the Cardinals running backs showed up to play.  Rookie David Johnson had two TDs, Chris Johnson rushed 11 times for 103 yards, and Andre Ellington (making his return from injury) had a huge 63 yard score in the 4th quarter. Not bad at all.

Carson Palmer: Palmer was off his game a week ago against the Rams, but he made up for it with a dominating performance against the Lions defense.  Palmer was as efficient as could be, passing just 14 times for 11 completions, 161 yards, and three TDs. He had an incredible 154.2 passer rating.  In Palmer We Trust.

Turnovers: The big DE Cory Redding had a highlight-reel worthy interception early in the game that was a hurdle-over-Matt-Stafford away from being a pick 6.  S Rashad Johnson had two himself, while CB Patrick Peterson brought in a Stafford pass as well. The defense recovered fumbles from RB Ameer Abdullah and WR Golden Tate.  Overall, a great day for the defense.

Anyone with the last name 'Johnson': David Johnson had two red zone scores, Chris Johnson led the day with a 100 yard game, and Rashad Johnson picked QB Matt Stafford off twice.  This name has done the Cardinals much good this season.

The Bad

The 1st quarter: The Cardinals didn't have a great start to the game.  They weren't able to accomplish much on offense in the first 15 minutes while defensively giving up a TD to RB Theo Riddick.  While they immediately scored at the beginning of the 2nd quarter and proceeded to go off the rest of the game, it was rather unsettling to think that the performance against the Rams was carrying over into Week 5.

Third down efficiency: The Cardinals were only 1-8 on third down conversions.  While the multiple turnovers set the offense up with great field positioning multiple times throughout the game, they won't always get away with lackluster play on third downs.

Penalties: After three weeks of play, the Cardinals were the least penalized team in the league, with just 17.  Against the Lions, the Cardinals were flagged 9 times.  Granted, some of the penalties were questionable calls, but others were dumb mistakes, like the John Brown TD celebration (Note: I will never protest a John Brown dance, especially in blowout games like this one).

Punting: It looks like punting is continuing as one of the weaknesses of the team.  Drew Butler punted 6 times, averaging 37.8 yards.  He has to improve.