Cardinals Barely Survive Lions Den

Beanie Wells (AP Photo)

The Arizona Cardinals nearly bobbled a sure-fire win in Detroit. The Cardinals counted on their play makers to lead them through surprising rough waters that included a third quarter shutout and 17 unanswered points against. The Cardinals squeezed past the Lions to take the 31-24 win and another hit to their pride.

The Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions' Week 15 matchup on Sunday in Detroit was a tale of two halves. The Cardinals appeared back on track in the first half but didn't show up to work in the third quarter and featured some mishaps in the fourth.

After trailing 17-0, The Lions made a quarterback change and adjustments to the offensive line to bring the score to 17-all. Lions safety Louis Delmas initiated the Lions scoring frenzy with a 100-yard interception return. Lions running back Maurice Morris continued the home team's comeback with a 67-yard rushing touchdown. The Lions added a field goal to end the their best quarter of the season.

The Cardinals third quarter was reminiscent of their disaster 60-minute performance against the San Francisco 49ers just six days prior. The Cardinals defense lacked focus, and Kurt Warner's offense missed its mark.

Cardinals' nose tackle Bryan Robinson exemplified the lack of focus and discipline. He participated in an exchange of words with the officials, which gave away 30 unnecessary yards to the on-fire third quarter Lions.


Larry Fitzgerald
(Getty)

But the Cardinals were focused enough in the first half. Warner connected with Larry Fitzgerald and Tim Hightower for a pair of first half scores. Newly signed kicker Mike Nugent also converted a field goal, to lead 17-0. But the Cardinals couldn't hold on to their momentum. The Lions took over possession with 11 seconds left in the half by making Levi Brown miss his block and forcing a fumble on Warner, which the Lions recovered. The Lions were unable to get points on the board, but the turnover was enough of a pat on the back to start the third quarter with a full tank.

The Cardinals couldn't slow down the Lions despite an an 18-yard Beanie Wells touchdown that gave the Cardinals the lead once again. The Lions were hungry for the win. Steve Breaston nearly helped their cause, as he botched a return following Wells' TD. When the Cardinals did have the ball, the Lions were able to pressure Warner with ease. His protection was minimal. Lucky for them, the Cardinals were able to open lanes for Wells who compiled 110 yards on the game by shedding tackles and showing off his power.

The Lions QB Drew Stanton also received room to run. He scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game 24-24 in the fourth quarter. The touchdown marked the first rushing score of his career.

With less than two minutes to go, and the score tied, Arizona trusted Anquan Boldin to reach the end zone and take the final lead, 31-24.

Wins aren't always pretty, but this one will have the league scratching its collective head once again.

Nest Notes

--Props to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who registered a pair of picks in Sunday's win over the Lions.

--The Cardinals return home and finish out the season there with games against the St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers.

--Arizona will wait for its NFC West fate. The win moved the Cardinals one step closer to the title, but the 49ers must lose to make the division officially the Cardinals.


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