Not many NFL teams have accumulated fewer than 200 yards and
still scored 38 points.
The embattled Arizona Cardinals managed just that on Sunday,
turning three interceptions of Matthew Stafford’s passes into
touchdowns and converting another turnover into a TD in a 38-10
victory over the Detroit Lions.
Greg Toler brought one pick back a franchise-record 102 yards
for a score after the Lions were threatening to cut the lead to a
touchdown in the fourth quarter. Rashad Johnson returned another 53
yards for a score and Patrick Peterson’s interception set up yet
Asked when the last time he’d run that far, Toler said, ”Oh
man, probably in track in high school.”
The Cardinals (5-9) ended a nine-game losing streak.
”I’m just happy for everybody,” he said. ”Everybody had
everyone’s back and we just played our scheme of defense.”
Arizona’s first victory in 2 1/2 months came a week after a 58-0
loss in Seattle, the most one-sided defeat in the long history of
the Cardinals franchise.
It was Arizona’s first win since beating Miami on Sept. 30, and
it sent the Lions (4-10) to their sixth straight loss.
”That’s about as bad as I can play,” Stafford said.
Detroit’s Calvin Johnson became the first player in NFL history
with consecutive 1,600-yard receiving seasons and tied an NFL
record with his seventh straight 100-yard receiving game.
Johnson caught 10 passes for 121 yards. With two games to play,
he needs 182 yards to break Jerry Rice’s NFL single-season record
of 1,848 set 17 years ago. Johnson’s 3,348 yards receiving in the
past two seasons are NFL record for consecutive years, one more
than Rice’s total in 1994-95.
But Johnson’s big numbers were the only bright spots on an
afternoon when the Lions’ season turned from bad to worse.
Coach Jim Schwartz, whose team made the playoffs a year ago, was
”as mad as I’ve been for a long time.”
”This team, the Cardinals, they lost a game last week because
of turnovers, because of eight turnovers,” Schwartz said. ”We
went into the game wanting to take care of the football, wanting to
establish the run. We did a poor job of both of those.”
Arizona’s Beanie Wells had touchdown runs of 5, 1 and 31
The Cardinals, who avoided tying the franchise record for
consecutive losses in the season, had gone 11 quarters without a
touchdown before getting three of them in the second quarter
”There was a lot of talk about if our team had quit,” Arizona
coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ”When it was 7-0 (Detroit) and we were
punting the ball there, I didn’t see any quit in our guys.”
On that punt, the return man Stefan Logan, trying to make a fair
catch, had his feet knocked out from under him by teammate Pat Lee,
who was trying to block Michael Adams. Adams chased the ball down
at the Detroit 5, and Wells scored on the next play up the middle
to tie it at 7 with 9:18 left in the half.
Two possessions later, a pair of false-start penalties pushed
the Lions back to their 2-yard line. Stafford overthrew Johnson,
and Peterson made a leaping interception, falling to his backside
after he caught the ball. He scrambled to his feet and returned 29
yards to the Detroit 3. Two plays later, Wells scored from the 1
and the Lions led 14-7.
After a pair of incompletions and a false start, the Lions had
it third-and-15 from their 43 when Stafford threw in the direction
of Tony Scheffler. Rashad Johnson saw it all the way, intercepting
it and running down the right sideline for the score to make it
21-7 with 30 seconds left in the half.
Jay Feely’s 51-yard field goal that made it 24-7 with 9:19 left
in the third quarter, then five minutes later Jason Hanson’s
41-yarder cut the lead to 24-10.
A 30-yard pass to Calvin Johnson highlighted a drive that had
Detroit threatening to cut the lead to a touchdown in the final
quarter. A delay of game penalty negated a TD pass, then on
fourth-and-2 from the 4, Stafford’s pass into the end zone went
right into the arms of Toler, who with a brigade of blockers ran
the length of the field for the score that made it 31-10 with 5:07
”I knew Greg was going to make it all the way,” Peterson said,
laughing. ”He had no one in front of him but Matthew Stafford and
five Cardinals, so if he didn’t make it, that definitely would have
been a shame.”
The Cardinals added a final touchdown on Wells’ 31-yard run
after the Lions had given the ball up on downs.
NOTES: Peterson has an interception in each of the last four
games and seven for the season. … With a fourth-quarter sack,
Arizona’s Adrian Wilson became the sixth player in NFL history with
25 sacks and 25 interceptions. … Hanson tied Morten Andersen for
most field goals of at least 40 yards (187). …
Ninety-one-year-old Charley Trippi, a star on the Cardinals’ 1947
NFL championship team, was honored at halftime. Trippi, who played
for the Cardinals from 1947 to 1955, was inducted into the Pro
Football Hall of Fame in 1968. … Detroit cornerback Jacob Lacy
left in the first quarter with a knee injury. … Arizona improved
to 4-3 at home.