Arizona Cardinals End Nine-Game Suck-Fest, Defeat the Detroit Lions 38-10
Here's your Christmas miracle, folks: the Arizona Cardinals won an actual football game, and they actually scored touchdowns in the process.
After losing nine games in a row, rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley and the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Lions of Detroit, by a score of 38-10.
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In case you've forgotten how painful this stretch has been -- including the peak, a 58-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks -- we provided the above links to our recaps of the nine straight losses.
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Phoenix Mercury vs. Los Angeles Sparks
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But let's talk victory, baby.
The beginning of the game was somewhat expected. On their first drive, the Cardinals moved the ball pretty well, landing on Detroit's 24 yard-line.
By way of penalties and a negative play, the Cardinals were back at Detroit's 38, punting on a fourth-and-22.
The next drive was even more predictable -- Lindley was intercepted on the first play.
The next two drives were also predictable -- a pair of three-and-outs.
But Arizona's defense held the Lions, for the most part.
The Lions got on the board first early in the second quarter, capping off a 73-yard drive with Mikel Leshoure running it in from one yard out.
The Cardinals responded with a drive that ended with Dave Zastudil punting.
At the receiving end of that punt, though, the Cards' Money Michael Adams was on top of the ball at the Lions' 5.
After further review, the ball did indeed hit off a Lions player, and Adams recovered the ball five yards away from the endzone. Beanie Wells ran it in on the first play of the new drive, and the ballgame was tied.
After both teams ended short drives with punts, the Lions started off with their old game of Matt Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Patrick Peterson ended that game quickly, and intercepted Stafford's first pass attempt of that drive, as Peterson ran it back to Detroit's 3.
Beanie Wells ran that one in, as well.
The Cardinals ran some exotic coverage schemes on Johnson, who still ended up with 10 catches for 121 yards, but it seemed to affect Stafford's decision-making.
On the drive after the Peterson interception, Stafford developed an apparent man-crush on tight end Tony Scheffler.
After completing one pass to receiver Kris Durham, Stafford went for short completions to Scheffler on back-to-back plays. After throwing incomplete to Durham, Stafford went back to Scheffler again -- which was also incomplete. On third down, Stafford went for Scheffler one more time, and the Cardinals Rashad Johnson caught that one, and ran it back 53 yards for the Cardinals.
At halftime, the Cardinals led 21-7.
Coming out of the half, Lindley -- who wasn't anywhere near perfect, but was way, way, way better than in his other NFL performances -- led a 30-yard drive that ended with Jay Feely kicking a long field goal. Fair enough -- 24-7 Cards.
Stafford led a similar decent drive, taking Detroit 55 yards, and setting up a field goal for Jason Hanson -- 24-10, Cardinals.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Cardinals still weren't driving down the field and scoring, but the Lions were desperate.
Stafford opened a drive with eight straight pass attempts, eventually coming to a fourth down, 4 yards from the endzone.
The Cardinals' Greg Toler picked off a pass intended for Durham, and took that back to the house, 102 yards, to put the Cardinals up 31-7.
For good measure, after the Lions turned the ball over on downs on their next drive, Wells ran for a 31-yard touchdown on the second play of the Cards' ensuing drive.
As you may have noticed, we didn't get around to mentioning Lindley too much -- which is kind of a good thing.
The kid still doesn't have a touchdown pass, but he didn't suck. He completed 66 percent of his passes, for just 104 yards, and one interception.
Really, Lindley only led the Cardinals to three points -- the field goal shortly after the half. The rest of the 28 points were scored off Christmas presents wrapped up and hand-delivered by the Detroit Lions.
That's not a bad thing, though -- the Cardinals turned every single Lions turnover into points. If you can do that, you're going to win some football games.
In the big picture, though, the Cardinals just started a one-game winning streak.
So what, the Cardinals have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. This weekend, the Cardinals play the Chicago Bears at home, then head to San Francisco to finish out the season against the 49ers.
Let the suck-fest be forever dead, and let's again quote Kevin Garnett:
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