NFL Nation: 2013 Week 2 DET at ARI Rapid Reaction

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Detroit Lions' 25-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

What it means: This is a rough loss for Detroit. The Lions didn’t play particularly well in any facet -- more on that below -- and still led the game late in the fourth quarter. But penalties -- eight of them for 101 yards -- proved critical. Bill Bentley was called for pass interference to set up Arizona’s game-winning touchdown, and if he had turned around, it would have been fourth down instead of Arizona’s ball on the 1-yard line. Two penalties in the third quarter extended a drive that led to a Cardinals field goal. Just tough mistakes.

Stock watch: Stock up: Detroit’s front seven. DeAndre Levy had an interception return for a touchdown and the Lions were able to play well on third downs and in the red zone. They could challenge to be among the top groups in the NFL by the end of the season. Also up: Calvin Johnson. The best receiver in the NFL had two touchdowns in the first half and set two franchise records. Stock down: Rookie cornerback Darius Slay, who won the starting job out of training camp, was replaced for the second straight week by Rashean Mathis. Keep an eye on this during this week.

Special teams a mess: Just a horrific day on special teams for Detroit. David Akers, who is usually reliable, missed a field goal, had another one blocked and another field goal attempt, which he missed, was nullified by a running into the kicker penalty. Returner Micheal Spurlock struggled returning kicks -- almost causing a safety on a kick return -- and punts, losing yardage on one return after essentially running the width of the field. This is the second straight week there have been some special teams issues for Detroit. Last week, punter Sam Martin muffed a field goal hold and struggled with his kicks.

Offense not the same without Reggie Bush: Detroit’s offense stalled without Bush for the majority of the second half. It gained 90 second-half yards, most of them without Bush.

What’s next: Detroit has its second road game in a row next week, heading to Washington to face Robert Griffin III and the 0-2 Redskins.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 25, Lions 21

September, 15, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Cardinals’ 25-21 win over the Detroit Lions.

What it means: A lot. Despite the win, the Cardinals offense looked lackluster, scoring just two touchdowns and stalling at crucial times. Granted, starting tight end Rob Housler was out again and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was hampered by a hamstring injury, but the offense couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. It moved the ball well in between the 20s but not when it mattered most.

Stock watch: Kerry Taylor was promoted from the practice squad Saturday afternoon and proved he’s worthy of a roster spot with 40 yards on three catches. He helped fill the void left by Fitzgerald, who sat out most of the second half with a hamstring injury. Rookie running back Andre Ellington also made a name for himself with a 36-yard touchdown reception and a crucial run late in the fourth quarter, as he made his case to be the Cards’ No. 2 running back.

Third-down blues: The Cardinals couldn’t convert a third down unless it was with the aid of a penalty. They were 1-for-11 on third down. This was an issue last week in St. Louis, and coach Bruce Arians said he was confident his team would improved on third down. A combination of incomplete passes and plays that came up short prevented the Cardinals from obtaining a new set of downs.

Defensive standard: Without the defense, the Cardinals could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third. The defense held Detroit to 13 yards in the third quarter, giving the offense a chance to score. The Cardinals held on third down twice and limited Lions QB Matthew Stafford to 0-for-4 passing in the quarter.

What's next: The Cardinals have a week to figure out their third-down issues before they travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.


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