Going into today's game, I had no excitement or anything to watch the Lions play at the Cardinals. I don't know if it was from all of the other stuff that went on Saturday, or if it was just because the game was featuring two of the league's worst teams, but I just wasn't hyped at all. If you saw me before kickoff, then wait until the final whistle.
This was single-handily one of the worst games I've ever watched. There were so many blown chances by the Lions and so many dumb plays. Not only that, but Kevin Jones, one of the last glimmers of hope on this team, left injured on only the third possession. When the struggle finally ended, Arizona came out on top by a score of 17-10. This was the Cardinals' second win of the season, and Matt Leinart's first career.
Believe it or not, but the game actually was off to a great start for Detroit early on in the first quarter. Although the opening drive was a three and out, the defense got a stop and set up a big special teams play. The Cardinals had to punt the ball away, and the punter seemed to hesitate after receiving the snap. That extra sliver of time was enough for Casey FitzSimmons to block the kick and give Detroit extraordinary field position.
The only problem with this field position is that it doesn't mean anything unless you score some points. The offense looked dreadful and I was just hoping for a field goal. Instead, Jon Kitna threw an interception right by the goal line, giving possession back to Arizona and killing Detroit's chances of taking an early lead.
The first scoring of this game actually didn't happen until the second quarter when Matt Leinart found Bryant Johnson from 2 yards out for a touchdown. That gave the Cards a 7-0 lead.
It wouldn't take long for Arizona to score again as the Lions went three and out and had to punt again. The Cardinals moved the ball quickly and eventually kicked a 36 yard field goal. At the half, Arizona leads 10-0.
The second half really wouldn't be much different. On the very first drive of the third quarter, Matt Leinart played spectacular. First, he completed a couple of long passes to get the ball down into Lions territory fairly quickly, and then he scored a touchdown using the ground game. Leinart rushed in from 9 yards out for the TD and to give Arizona a 17-0 lead.
Detroit was left playing catch-up the rest of the game and couldn't completely get all the way back. Jason Hanson did kick a 32 yard field goal, and Arlen Harris did have a 1 yard touchdown run, but that only equaled 10 points, leaving the Lions down by 7.
As the clock ticked away, Detroit continued to falter. They just couldn't get things going enough. In the end, Arizona got a first down in the closing minutes to cap off the game and to clinch a win. We've seen the same thing many times before in this season, and now it's all too normal.
Kevin Jones going down early in the game probably is one of the biggest factors in why Detroit lost today. Arlen Harris did an alright job for coming off of the bench, but Jones brings a ground attack and a threat of catching passes. Missing him turned the offense one-dimensional.
Detroit will have to quickly shake off this loss as there are only three more days until the Lions' next game. Joey Harrington comes back to town with his Dolphins for a Thanksgiving battle. Detroit will be playing in front of their home crowd on a day that is traditional for them to play on, so walking away with a win will be the only option to please fans. I'd expect some "Fire Millen" chants will begin as the season winds down, and also a lot of boos. Hopefully they can win one and make many people's holiday better on Thursday.