Cards-Lions infamy, Scooby salute, busted Brock and more

Ryan Lindley passed for just 104 yards in the Cardinals' 38-10 win over the Lions on Dec. 16, 2012.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Call it a scheduling fluke or two teams on parallel paths of mediocrity, but the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions have played each other an unusually large number of times as non-division opponents.

Sunday’s upcoming game at University of Phoenix Stadium will mark the third consecutive season these two teams have met, and the 11th time since the turn of the century. The Cardinals have won the last five in a row, and seven of 10 since the new millennium struck.

But here’s something novel: It will be the first time in those 11 games that both teams have had winning records — and not only winning records, mind you, but the two best records in the NFC.

Quite the opposite has been the norm. Last year’s meeting came in the second game of the season, so records were of little consequence, but 2012 brought us an epic battle of 4-9 jugger-nots. In case you’d forgotten, the Cardinals swamped the Lions 38-10 in a game that will go down as the signature moment of the Ryan Lindley era. Somehow (we think the Lions had something to do with it), the Cardinals piled up 38 points while amassing 196 yards in total offense.

The first meeting at University of Phoenix Stadium between these two franchises came in 2006 and was typical fare — with Matt Leinart leading the 1-8 Cardinals over the 2-7 Lions by a 17-10 count.

And let’s just say both teams have traveled a long way from 2001 and 2002, back-to-back seasons when the Lions visited Sun Devil Stadium. In ’01, 32,000 strong turned out to see the 2-6 Cardinals put a 45-38 whuppin’ on the 0-8 Lions; a year later, 28K showed up to watch the 3-9 Cardinals emerge victorious in a 23-20 overtime thriller over the 4-8 Lions.

Vive la difference!

Cardinals vs. Lions since 2000

 Date  Score   Stadium   Attendance
 Nov. 16, 2014  Cardinals (8-1) vs. Lions (7-2)  University of Phoenix Stadium  
 Sept. 15, 2013   Cardinals (0-1) 25, Lions (1-0) 21   University of Phoenix Stadium   60,034
 Dec. 16, 2012   Cardinals (4-9) 38, Lions (4-9) 10   University of Phoenix Stadium  60,483
 Dec. 20, 2009  Cardinals (8-5) 31, Lions (2-11) 24   Ford Field   40,577
 Nov. 11, 2007  Cardinals (3-5) 31, Lions (6-2) 21  University of Phoenix Stadium  64,753
 Nov. 19, 2006   Cardinals (1-8) 17, Lions (2-7) 10   University of Phoenix Stadium  63,348
 Nov. 13, 2005  Lions (3-5) 29, Cardinals (2-6) 21    Ford Field  61,091
 Dec. 5, 2004  Lions (4-7) 26, Cardinals (4-7) 12  Ford Field  62,262
 Sept. 7, 2003  Lions (0-0) 42, Cardinals (0-0) 24   Ford Field  60,091
 Dec. 8, 2002  Cardinals (3-9) 23, Lions (4-8) 20 (OT)  Sun Devil Stadium  28,640
 Nov. 18, 2001  Cardinals (2-6) 45, Lions (0-8) 38   Sun Devil Stadium  32, 322

***

OK, here a few more Monday pigskin leftovers.

–The Sun Devils are making a slow, methodical climb toward inclusion in the first College Football Playoff in the various rankings systems, but they’re not quite to the exalted Final Four territory.

Logic says that if they keep winning through the Pac-12 Championship game, that issue will take care of itself. There’s lots of football left to play.

The Sun Devils are No. 7 in this week’s "FOX Four" — a 13-member committee of experts assembled by FOX Sports — behind Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, TCU, Alabama and Baylor, but their trouncing of Notre Dame won over some skeptics.

Here’s what our Bruce Feldman had to say: "The Sun Devils have come a long way, especially on D, since getting clobbered by UCLA at home earlier in the season. If ASU can win out, beating Arizona and then Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, they’re going to the playoff."

 –Speaking of Feldman, there was an interesting surprise buried toward the bottom of his always comprehensive and insightful "Big Picture" column. His Heisman top five:  1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon; 2. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State; 3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin; 4. Duke Johnson, RB, Miami; 5. Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona.

Yes, that Scooby Wright.

–We’ll conclude with this GIF of former Sun Devil quarterback Brock Osweiler, who wrongly assumed it was his turn to play after the Broncos rolled up a huge 31-point third-quarter lead on the Oakland Raiders.

Some guy named Manning had other ideas, much to Brock’s dismay.

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