Feb. 26, 2019
Lions Look: Yay?
This game featured two of the league's lower echelon teams, and boy, did it show.
In a bad game (and for one who has watched many Detroit Lions games, that is a statement unto itself), the Lions would outlast the Arizona Cardinals in a 17-3 victory that would snap a three game losing streak and end the Lions' struggles in Arizona, who last won in the Copper State in 1993. That would be the extent of the good news for Detroit.
A short handed offense rendered the Lions to a putrid 218 total yards gained and quarterback Matt Stafford throwing for a paltry 101 yards, his lowest output since Week 1 in 2010. And for the record, Stafford left that game due to injury. While he was dealing with a back ailment in this game, at least he was playing. The injuries continue to mount, as nine players were hurt and did not complete the game. While the Detroit faithful has been highly critical of offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter this season, part of the issue is the multitude of injures that have all but obliterated continuity on a weekly basis. The defense has improved over this season, as DT Damon Harrison has been a keystone on the defensive front to greatly improve their play. And that D was the difference, as cornerback Darius Slay would score one of the only two touchdowns of the game on a 67 yard Pick Six. The highlights were few and far between in this one, but at least the result was in the visitor's favor.
Meanwhile, the Cards are still rebuilding with rookie Josh Rosen learning on the job under center and the rest of the roster in flux. They would pick up 279 total yards, but much of that was in garbage time when the result was pretty much decided. The Cardinals slide to 3-10, which keeps them in the running for the top draft pick in April. And seeing where their roster is at right now, they could use that ready talent immediately.
As for the Lions, they jump up to 5-8. While still technically alive for a wild card, Detroit is simply finishing out the last three games of the regular season. After travelling out west, they return to the Eastern Time Zone with their game in Buffalo against the Bills next week. The Bills offense is on par with Arizona, but their defense will be far more stout. That means that the Lions may not succeed if they replicate their offensive effort in Arizona. But Buffalo is notorious for their weather conditions in December. The Lions will need to be prepared for both the team on the field and the elements to come out victorious.