Cardinals force six turnovers in blowout win over Lions


DETROIT -- Sometimes an offense just needs a little support from its defense.

Such was the case Sunday, when the Arizona Cardinals went three-and-out on their first two drives against the Detroit Lions. While the offense was carrying over its lackluster performance from last week's loss to the St. Louis Rams, the defense did what it could to prevent the Lions from taking advantage of the Cards' lack of yards and scoring.

Arizona picked off Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the first drive of the game, after which the Cardinals punted. Arizona forced and recovered a fumble on the Lions' second drive, after which the Cardinals punted.

Then, on Detroit's third drive, the Lions took a 7-0 lead. By then, however, the Cardinals' offense had woken up and went on to outscore the Lions 35-0. Even though the Cardinals found their rhythm, the defense didn't let up. It forced six turnovers in a 42-17 win, tied for the most by an opponent since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

In addition, the Cardinals appeared to force a fourth fumble, which they recovered on a kickoff in the second quarter, but the play was overturned and Detroit retained possession.

Once the turnovers started coming, they didn't stop.

The Cardinals picked off Stafford early in the second quarter, which led to Arizona's second touchdown. A forced fumbled and recovery late in the second led to Arizona's fourth touchdown of the first half and gave them a 28-7 lead at halftime. In the third, Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson picked off Stafford, which led to a fifth Cardinals touchdown.

In all, the Cardinals scored 21 points off their six forced turnovers.

What were they thinking? This was one of those games in which there weren't any bad decisions. Quarterback Carson Palmer played a safe, efficient game and threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 11-for-14 passing. The 78.6 completion percentage is the seventh-best of Palmer's career.

One reason to be excited: The Cardinals' defense responded after looking despondent against the Rams with five turnovers -- and an additional forced fumble -- in a dominating performance.

One reason to panic: A slow start didn't have an effect on the outcome of Sunday's win, but when the Cardinals play a better team in the future, it might.

Fantasy watch: David Johnson might have rushed for just 6 yards, but he scored two touchdowns, so owners might give up points for bulk yardage in exchange for scores.

Ouch: The only announced injury was a left hamstring issue for safety Chris Clemons, but defensive tackle Frostee Rucker was attended to on the field by trainers, and safety Tyrann Mathieu was examined on the sideline after a scary tumble.