Sunday, December 16, 2012
Wrap-up: Cardinals 38, Lions 10
By Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on Sunday's events in Arizona:
What it means: The Detroit Lions have lost six consecutive games, and Sunday's embarrassing performance to the Arizona Cardinals -- losers of nine consecutive games, including a 58-0 defeat last week -- is the kind of game that gets people fired. On the plus side, the Lions did break their tie with the Cardinals in 2013 draft positioning.
AccountabilityWatch: This game has to be considered the low point of coach Jim Schwartz's tenure. There were some bad losses in 2009 and even the early parts of 2010, but getting blown out by a team that hadn't won in more than two months is a result that makes you question the direction of the program. Surely, the Lions were playing without a number of good players -- from defensive tackle Nick Fairley to tight end Brandon Pettigrew to three key wide receivers -- but that doesn't excuse the kind of sloppy play we'll detail in a moment. Have the Lions already checked out on the 2012 season? It would be hard to argue against it at the moment. I don't think it will cost Schwartz a job, but it should rank as the most worrisome loss on his head-coaching resume.
StaffordWatch: Based on passer rating, at least, quarterback Matthew Stafford had his worst game since his rookie season. Three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, left him with a 37.4 rating. His only games with lower ratings were his first-ever game in 2009 and the Thanksgiving Day game last year, which he played four days after severely injuring his left shoulder. There is no doubt Stafford didn't have most of his top receivers, but elite quarterbacks are expected to rise above such obstacles.
Mistakes galore: In addition to the two interception returns, the Lions also set up the Cardinals at their five-yard line by muffing a punt in the second quarter. That's 21 points the Lions handed to a Cardinals team whose own offense has been dreadful this season. The Cardinals' offense managed only 191 total yards and converted only two first downs and still won in a runaway.
What's next: A national television audience will get to render its own judgment against the Lions in a Saturday night game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field.