Let’s take a look at the winners and losers:
Winner: Matthew Stafford
Is there any doubt that Stafford was the clearest winner? After going 0-4 against the Cardinals in his career he put together a convincing win throwing for three touchdowns in a game in which the Lions special teams and offense mightily struggled in the first half.
The newly highest-paid quarterback in the game put on a show in the 4th quarter and had the Lions looking like the playoff team they were last year, while Arizona looked like the team that struggled to get to 7-8-1.
Loser: Fantasy Owners
David Johnson went down after receiving a great pass and gave fantasy owners a scare. He ended up just getting the wind knocked out of him and returned after Kerwynn Williams vultured a touchdown.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last as Johnson left shortly after fumbling for the 2nd time today with a wrist injury.
If Johnson is out for a while, the Cardinals will be in serious trouble as he’s their best offensive player by far. The other fantasy star players on both teams also didn’t have the greatest days, while Marvin Jones went off for a touchdown and Golden Tate racked up yards, neither did so consistently. Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown were also held out of the end zone.
Winner: Kenny Golladay, Lions
Tate had an excellent game with over 100 yards receiving, but it was Golladay who was the true stud, hauling in two touchdowns and showing why he’s a big play threat in and out of the red zone. He’s a guy who will likely factor into the Lions game plan heavily moving forward and despite playing great for three quarters, Cards CB Justin Bethel ultimately couldn’t contain him.
Loser: Ameer Abdullah, Lions
The Lions selected Ameer Abdullah ahead of the Cardinals in the 2015 NFL Draft and David Johnson, their backup pick, has gone on to become one of the best running backs in the league while Abdullah has had little impact. Finally healthy, he struggled to demonstrate playmaking ability and rushed 15 times for only 30 yards.
He lost out on snaps to Riddick and Washington and the Lions probably don’t have their long-term partner in the backfield with Stafford should Abdullah continue on his current projection. The fact that Johnson was seeming to single-handedly get Arizona’s offense going before his injury just makes Abdullah’s selection look all the more a tough pill to swallow after the performances today.
Winner: Hassan Reddick, Cardinals
Reddick had a fine rookie debut, showing off explosive speed and gaining 8 tackles, 6 solo, including one for loss (Tyvon Branch led the team with an impressive 11 tackles, 10 solo). He also got the chance to rush the passer and looks to be a viable, athletic linebacker for the Cardinals moving forward.
It’s nice to see a first round pick for the Cardinals on the field playing for once, and playing well.
Loser: The Window of Opportunity.
With Cardinals fans knowing that this could be the last year for Palmer/Fitzgerald and Arians, seeing Larry Fitzgerald have multiple “just missed” opportunties and a drop was a killer. Palmer continued the trend of “taking 3+ sacks in a game” with Arizona ultimately losing that game that began in 2016 and turned the ball over three times. With Seattle also losing a game to Green Bay, if the Cardinals want to have a shot at the playoffs in a tough NFC, they’ll have to win those non-division games in addition to competing in their division against a newly-resurgent Rams team.
But judging from the reactions of fans who are just seeing the “Same Ol’ Cardinals” from 2016 (there was even a missed field goal) it seems as though some fans are tired of the current era of Palmer and Arians and have already given up on the season. While the Cardinals sure haven’t, seeing a game in which every weakness the team might have had coming in getting exposed isn’t the way that they, or their fans, wanted a possible ride into the sunset for this likable trio to go.
Who were your winners and losers, Birdgang?
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