Monday, December 17, 2012
Around the NFC West: Cardinals find a way
By Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals can worry about sustainability in the offseason. They needed a victory by any means Sunday. They got one over the Detroit thanks to two pick-sixes and two touchdown drives totaling 8 yards.
This one recalled the time in 2010 when the Cardinals defeated the New Orleans Saints in Max Hall's first career start. Tackle Levi Brown recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown that day. Kerry Rhodes scored on a fumble return. Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie scored on an interception return. Hall emerged with four sacks, one interception, no touchdowns and a 1-0 starting record.
Back then, the Cardinals were coming off a 41-10 defeat at San Diego. They had lost 41-7 in Atlanta a couple weeks before that.
Arizona was coming off a 58-0 defeat in Seattle this time. The Cardinals had lost nine in a row. Beating the Lions provided welcome relief. Rashad Johnson and Greg Toler had interceptions for touchdowns. Patrick Peterson returned an interception to the Detroit 3-yard line. The Cardinals recovered a muffed punts at the Detroit 5. Their defense beat up Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford thanks in part to dominant play from Calais Campbell. Detroit's one-dimensional nature on offense also helped.
For the first time in too long, the Cardinals looked like they were having fun.
The victory left Arizona with a 5-9 record heading into games against Chicago (home) and San Francisco (road).
The Cardinals could still catch the St. Louis Rams (6-7-1) for third in the NFC West. Lost draft order would be the only cost. Arizona emerged from Week 15 outside the top 10 in the projected 2013 order. Kansas City is first, followed by Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Detroit, Tennessee, San Diego, Cleveland, Buffalo and Carolina.