This overtime contest in the Arizona desert between the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions had all the makings of a classic preseason game. From poor special teams play to bad coaching decisions to lackluster veteran player efforts, this game could very well have taken place in August.
Rookie Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, in his first NFL start, started the game like one would expect a rookie to start. At the end of the third quarter, the Cardinals had only six points on the board, the result of two field goals, and Murray had already tossed an interception with a slew of incompletions and been sacked four times.
However, in the fourth quarter, the rookie seemed to have left the game.
Murray rallied his lackluster team back from a 24-9 deficit, leading the Cardinals to a field goal, two touchdowns, and a 2 point conversion to send the game into overtime.
Murray would finish the game 25-for-54 with 308 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was classic Fitzgerald, hauling in eight passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Cardinals running back David Johnson contributed to the comeback cause with 82 yards on 18 rushing attempts along with six receptions for another 55 yards and a touchdown.
The Cardinals’ defense showed up in a big fashion, holding the Lions to just 24 points in six quarters of football and registering 66 tackles with three sacks and forcing two fumbles while recovering one for a 24-yard return.
However, Murray’s performance did not impress everyone, with Fox Sports News late-night radio host Ben Maller among them.
“… Murray had one of the worst debuts I can recall in recent NFL history. The Cardinals tied a bad Lions team who tried to give the game away… They were trailing because of his football negligence. He had 31 bad plays: Interceptions plus incompletions plus sacks plus fumbles in 30 minutes of possessions… It was underwhelming and embarrassing.”
For the duration of the game, the Lions’ offense looked great, and their defense was stellar most of the time, too.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford put up more-than-respectable numbers, completing 27 of 45 passes for 385 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Veteran wide receiver Danny Amendola scored on a touchdown and hauled in seven passes for 104 yards.
Teammate and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson had a record-breaking day. Hockenson nabbed six passes for 131 yards and a touchdown, breaking the NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie tight end.
Kenny Golladay added another touchdown for the Lions.
The Lions’ running unit was largely ineffective on the day, gaining a combined total of 116 yards and no touchdowns.
As for the special teams unit, Jamal Agnew’s muffed punt combined with the block of Sam Martin’s punt tells you all you need to know.
The Lions’ defense, for their part, registered 55 tackles, five sacks and an interception. They limited the Arizona rookie QB to a 75.2 passer rating and forced eight punts. However, the 90 degree-plus temperature in the Arizona sun wore on them quickly.
The Lions won this game in all phases, except where it counted most: the scoreboard.
“Late in the game, I think they were just tired. I know Harrison wasn’t on the field a lot, probably due to him not playing a lot in the preseason.”
– Rookie Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (Murray mounted and led a 4th quarter comeback to force double-OT)
The legend begins as #Cardinals rookie QB Murray hits venerable WR Larry Fitzgerald for 6 late in the 4th then nails a 2 pt conversion to Kirk to tie it up at 24 all with 24 seconds in the game #DETvsAZ 24-24 #Lions ball pic.twitter.com/B9m7D8j1nb
— 🏈 🗳️ Steven Van Over (@StevenVanOver) September 8, 2019
Ladies and Gentleman,
The 2019 Arizona Cardinals pic.twitter.com/A7sFEBdHJZ
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) September 8, 2019
The Cardinals are on the road next week where they will face off against Lamar Hunt and the Baltimore Ravens, fresh off of their 59-10 beat-down of the Miami Dolphins. The football gods are not as likely to gift the Cardinals the same fortunes in this football foray.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they’re hosting the high-octane Los Angeles Chargers for their home opener at Ford Field this Sunday. The Chargers also went into overtime on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. However, unlike the Lions, the Chargers finished their game with a 30-24 win.