The Detroit Lions played the role of slump busters, serving as an end to the Arizona Cardinals nine-game losing streak.
The 38-10 defeat not only ended the league’s longest losing streak but simultaneously extended it. With six consecutive defeats, no team has gone longer without a victory than the Lions.
This was easily the Lions worst performance of the season and could be the low point during head coach Jim Schwartz’s tenure with the team.
Here’s a closer look with this week’s good, bad and ugly.
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson continues to be a bright spot amidst a gloomy season.
With 10 catches for 121 yards, Johnson is closing in on Jerry Rice’s watermark of 1,848 yards. The Lions star wideout has 1,687 yards and will need to average just over 80 yards receiving over the next two games to surpass this historical mark.
Johnson tied a league mark of consecutive 100-yard receiving games with seven – matching Michael Irvin and Charley Hennigan.
Perhaps most impressive is that Johnson is doing this while the other targets in the Lions passing game are struggling to produce.
Johnson’s 10 catches accounted for nearly half of the team’s 24 total receptions and represented most of the production from the Lions receiving corps (only two catches for 23 yards from the rest of the group).
The Lions may not be the league’s best team but they do have the league’s best receiver.
The Bad – The Rest of the Offense
There isn’t much for the Lions to take away from this game.
They outgained the Cardinals 312 to 196 yards but that was a product of deficiencies not dominance.
The Lions had four turnovers which the Cardinals turned into 28 points. Two interceptions were returned for touchdowns and Arizona was set up for two other touchdown drives of less than 10 yards.
It wasn’t just the turnovers that stifled the Lions offense. They produced six three and outs, punted eight times and turned the ball over on downs one time.
They had only two drives longer than 28 yards and one of those ended in an interception.
The Lions are a team predicated on a strong offense. Whenever they perform like this, the outcome is going to be ugly.
The Ugly – The Pass Protection
The Lions offensive line has played well this season. Quarterback Matthew Stafford often has sufficient time to throw and doesn’t take a tremendous amount of hits. All while throwing a very high quaintly of passes.
That was not the case this week.
The Cardinals managed to only sack the Lions signal caller twice but placed hard hits on him all game.
Covered in grass stains, Stafford was slow to his feet after several hits and took his most vicious beating of the season.
The Cardinals hit Stafford eight times and hurried him several other times.
The Lions have wished for the opposition to blitz them all year. The Cardinals obliged.