Week 10 Game Recap: Arizona Cardinals 21, Detroit Lions 29
What you need to know
The Cardinals’ offense managed its first rushing touchdown of the season when J.J. Arrington crossed the stripe in the third quarter. That said, Arizona’s running game still leaves a lot to be desired. RB Marcel Shipp had a miserable first half, gaining only three yards on four carries, dropping two screen passes and fumbling at the end of a two yard carry. He did not see the field in the second half as Arrington took over and finished the game with 24 yards on eight carries and the aforementioned touchdown. RB Obafemi Ayanbadejo contributed 11 yards on three carries, but was stopped in his own end zone for a Lions’ safety in the first quarter.
QB Kurt Warner played from behind and put up good numbers for the second consecutive week since taking over for Josh McCown. He aired it out 45 times, completing 29 passes for 359 yards and a fourth quarter Larry Fitzgerald touchdown. Even more important, improved pass protection and Arizona’s play calling limited the Lions’ defense to only one sack and a handful of knock downs, a big contrast to last week’s game against the Seahawks. HC Denny Green has verbally committed to keeping Kurt Warner as his starter and with Arizona’s pathetic running game; Warner should continue to sling the ball a ton.
WR Larry Fitzgerald started the game slowly; catching only two first quarter passes on four targets, but came alive in the second half and finished with his fifth 100+ yard game of this season. About half of his nine receptions came on quick slant routes designed to keep Kurt Warner upright. Fitzgerald finished with a team high 141 yards and the Cardinals’ only receiving touchdown.
The Lions used a well-balanced attack and, for the first time this season, scored on their opening possession. QB Joey Harrington showed poise in the pocket and hooked up with WR Roy Williams for the first of their three joint touchdown efforts in this game. Though Harrington finished with a modest 231 passing yards, his three touchdowns versus no interceptions made it arguably one of his best NFL efforts and gave his team a badly needed win.
RB Kevin Jones was not 100% healthy and as a result lost half of the Lions’ 28 carries to Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner. He showed some nifty spin moves in breaking tackles and picking up 81 rushing yards on only 14 carries. He added 12 yards on a pair of receptions, but showed why Shawn Bryson is the regular third down back when he dropped a perfect screen pass with plenty of open field in front of him.
WR Roy Williams returned from the quad injury that kept him sidelined for the past three games and exploded for a 117 yard, three touchdown effort. Game commentators repeatedly mentioned Williams’ noticeable limp, but nonetheless the Cardinals’ secondary couldn’t find a way to keep the ball out of his hands or keep him out of the end zone. He found the gaps in Arizona’s cover two zone defense frequently and Harrington was able to deliver on target.
What you ought to know
|QB Kurt Warner, Pass: 29 - 45 - 359 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0|
Arizona’s offensive line has had a tremendous amount of trouble protecting their quarterback and a usually immobile Kurt Warner under center would seem to spell disaster. Surprisingly, Warner and his coaches did a decent job of managing the pass rush using short slants and dump offs with moderate success. Warner saw pressure, but was not sacked in the game and threw no interceptions. Playing from behind as usual, Warner saw a softer defense and opened it up in the second half, finishing with 359 yards and a late game touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald.
Marcel Shipp had an abysmal first half, so Arizona Head Coach Denny Green opted to go with Arrington in the second half and the Cardinals were rewarded with their first rushing touchdown of the season. Though he finished with only 24 rushing yards on eight carries, he visibly outplayed Marcel Shipp for the second straight game and seems worthy of a chance at the starting RB job in Arizona.
Ayanbadejo saw three carries in the game, one of which went for 11 yards and one for negative two yards and a Lions’ safety. Ayanbadejo continued to be one of the league’s most successful third down backs, recording six catches for 51 yards on nine targets out of the backfield. He also successfully crossed the stripe for a Cardinals’ two point conversion.
|RB Marcel Shipp, Rush: 4 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets)|
For the second time this season, Shipp recorded fewer yards than carries. His vision just doesn’t seem to be there. A good example came on the first handoff of the game when he met a defender in the backfield. If he pops outside, he gets some positive yardage, but he hesitated, went inside and got dropped for a loss of four yards. Shipp also dropped two easy screen passes and fumbled after kneeing the ball out of his own grasp while he was going down at the end of a run. The door would seem to be open for J.J. Arrington.
Jackson played in the waning minutes of the game and caught two passes for 31 yards.
Fitzgerald was targeted on nearly one-third of Warner’s 45 pass attempts en route to a huge nine catch, 141 yard game. Most of their success came on short slant routes and their longest hookup was only 27 yards. Fitzgerald is undoubtedly a must start fantasy receiver this season and with both Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson sidelined with injuries, his numbers should continue to loom even larger.
With Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson both out, the rookie had plenty of opportunities. He was the only wide receiver targeted by Kurt Warner in the first quarter and finished the game with 70 yards on six catches. He will undoubtedly be unseated by Boldin or Johnson when one of them gets healthy, but for now he has filled the number two wide receiver role nicely.
Newhouse grabbed two of the three passes launched his way by Kurt Warner for 23 yards.
Bergen was the only Arizona tight end targeted in this game and likely would have turned his lone 32 yard gain into a touchdown had he not lost his footing.
Rackers is still perfect for the season, hitting from 51 and 28 yards and his only extra point attempt.
Three different Detroit running backs combined for 144 rushing yards against this defense, but did not score a rushing touchdown. Kevin Jones spun away from tacklers on multiple occasions and the Cardinals’ propensity to miss tackles is really taking its toll on their win-loss record.
Joey Harrington and the Detroit offense butchered the Cardinals’ cover two zone repeatedly, hitting a limping Roy Williams for three touchdowns. When Arizona played man coverage, Harrington more often than not targeted his tight end Marcus Pollard or a running back. Harrington really seemed to read this defense well and played nearly mistake free football.
Harrington looked poised in the pocket and showed a strong, accurate arm most of the game. His favorite target, Roy Williams, was not 100% healthy, but that didn’t stop them from hooking up for three touchdowns. Harrington finished with 231 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, arguably one of his most solid games as an NFL starter.
|RB Kevin Jones, Rush: 14 - 81 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)|
Jones entered the game at less than 100%, suffering from a pinched nerve. He was the preferred RB for Detroit, but lost 14 carries to Shawn Bryson and Artose Pinner. Jones looked sharp when the Lions went for it on fourth and less than a yard in the first quarter, running up the gut, spinning off a tackle and breaking free for 36 yards. He finished with 93 combined yards from scrimmage, but did not score a touchdown.
|RB Shawn Bryson, Rush: 7 - 44 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (3 targets)|
With Kevin Jones less than 100% healthy, Bryson saw 25% of the team’s 28 carries for 44 yards, average of over six yards per rush. He also added a pair of catches for 17 yards.
Pinner saw all of his seven carries in the fourth quarter, including a pair of red zone touches, but did not cross the stripe.
Schlesinger had a pair of token targets out of the backfield.
Williams is still not 100% recovered from his quad injury, but it didn’t seem to slow him down. Williams showed excellent concentration with his first quarter touchdown when he bobbled the ball, regained control and managed to get both feet in bounds. On his second touchdown of the game, he redirected the corner, drew an illegal contact flag and caught the ball anyway. He completed the hat trick with another trip to the end zone in the third quarter and finished with a strong 117 yard performance.
The veteran receiver recorded two catches for 15 yards.
Vines shared time with Charles Rogers and made two catches for 17 yards.
Rogers is not a viable part of this offense right now.
Pollard caught a ball in the end zone, but the play was called back because Harrington had crossed the line of scrimmage before releasing the pass. Pollard was targeted three times in the red zone at the end of the first half and was the second leading receiver for the Lions with 47 yards on five catches.
Hanson recorded a pair of chip shot field goals and all three extra point attempts.
The Lions are just the latest team to enjoy a visit from the Arizona Cardinals’ miserable rushing offense. They limited three Arizona backs to only 38 yards on the ground, but allowed J.J. Arrington into the end zone for the Cardinals’ first rushing touchdown of the season. Cardinals’ running backs combined for only 15 rushing attempts and five of those were stopped behind the line of scrimmage, including a first quarter safety when Ayanbadejo was caught in the end zone.
Kurt Warner and the Arizona passing offense racked up a ton of yardage against Detroit’s secondary, but most of those 359 yards came against softer coverage in the second half with the Cardinals playing from behind. Warner dropped back to pass 45 times, but was not sacked or intercepted by this defensive unit.