The Detroit Lions shocked the world and undoubtedly busted a bunch of parlay bets Sunday afternoon as they upset the Arizona Cardinals to the tune of 30-12.
I’m not sure what was more surprising, the fact that Jared Goff played exceptionally well or the depleted Detroit Lions defense held the high-powered Arizona Cardinals to just 12 points. Sure, the Cardinals were without star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, but they still deployed A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and Zach Ertz in the passing game. The Cardinals also have a tremendous one-two punch in the backfield with James Conner and Chase Edmonds.
Kirk went for 94 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions, but the Lions were able to hold down the remaining Arizona offensive weapons limiting Ertz to 74 yards and Green to 64. Detroit is usually very susceptible to large chunks in the run game but allowed just 105 total yards. That is considerably impressive understanding how elusive Kyler Murray is.
Detroit’s defense was led by Charles Harris, who sacked Murray twice and also produced 12 tackles which led the team. Harris has accumulated eight sacks on the season and is someone the Detroit Lions strongly need to consider extending immediately.
Amani Oruwariye laid out to pick off Murray and nearly returned it for a touchdown. That huge return set up a simple one-play scoring drive for the Lions’ offense; a pass and catch from Jared Goff to fullback Jason Cabinda for a six-yard score.
The Detroit Lions also got spectacular production from Craig Reynolds in the run game. The man nicknamed ‘Netflix’ galloped for 112 yards on 26 carries and added one catch for five yards. This following 99 total yards a week ago in Denver.
I thought it would be tough sledding Sunday for the Detroit Lions offense minus D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and T.J. Hockenson, but rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown had himself a day hauling in eight passes totaling 90 yards and a score.
St. Brown was complemented nicely by Josh Reynolds, who made six grabs for 68 and a score. That’s three straight games St. Brown has seen double-digit targets, plus he broke the Detroit Lions record for rookie receptions in a single season which was previously held by Jahvid Best back in 2010 with 58. St. Brown currently sits at 65 catches, with three games remaining.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff stood in the pocket and took his licks but proved he is willing to take a hit to make a play.
That was something we hadn’t seen from Goff much this season. For most of the year, Goff quickly made a read; if his first or second option weren’t open, he’d bail out and usually be tackled for a loss rather than step up and climb the pocket.
This makes it difficult for Detroit’s tackles to push an edge-rusher past Goff. Sunday against the Cardinals was much different. Goff was hanging in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield, and although most of Detroit’s passing offense is the quick strike variety when Goff needed the time to throw a deep ball, he willingly stepped up and often took a shot.
Following the game, Lions left tackle Taylor Decker mentioned that he made a point to thank his quarterback for staying in the pocket and taking a hit to make a play. Decker said an effort like that builds confidence within the offensive line.
Goff finished throwing for 216 yards and three touchdowns, completing 21 of 26 of his attempts.
The Detroit Lions are now 2-11-1 with three games remaining against Atlanta, Seattle, and Green Bay.