In true drug addict fashion the Detroit Lions hit rock bottom with their 38-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. After initially going up 7-0, the Lions collapsed under the weight of their own mistakes; three Matthew Stafford interceptions led to 21 points for an Arizona team that has struggled mightily on the offensive side of the ball all season.
The Cardinals have been able to stay in games with big defensive plays. Since starting out 4-0 they were in the midst of a 0-9 free fall before Detroit came to town. The Lions defense held up well against Arizona, yielding only 196 overall yards despite the lopsided loss. The Detroit offense struggled but still amassed 312 yards.
The Lions have mastered the art of losing and Sunday’s game only speaks to that. Arizona’s offensive ineptitude has been a major NFL storyline this year, but their defense has kept them in games. The Lions defense held their own against a poor offense, but a true losing team always finds a way. Matthew Stafford responded to the stout defense with three awful interceptions, two of which couldn’t have been timed worse. Stafford tossed a pick-six to end the first half, putting the Lions in a 14-point hole instead of just being down 7. The Lions then had the ball deep in Cardinal territory down 24-10 in the 4th quarter with an opportunity to come within 7 when Stafford threw yet another interception for a touchdown.
No one loss can ever entirely be attributed to a single player. Having said that, the Lions’ loss to the Cardinals can be directly attributed to the three interceptions and an inexcusable fumble on a 2nd quarter punt return. Although Detroit never got in sync offensively, simply not turning the ball over would have kept the game close and put the Lions in position to win. The Cardinals were handed the game with a laughable fumble and three horrible interceptions, but the biggest concern is that Detroit makes mistakes when they are in dire need of a big play.
Matthew Stafford has shown flashes of brilliance over the last two years but has regressed this season. All of his interceptions were brutal and he regularly missed open receivers, a disturbing trend that has developed particularly as of late.
The Lions still own the league’s number one pass offense but are still unable to put points on the board when they need it. Leave it to the Lions to have the best pass offense and still be worried about quarterback consistency. Detroit has a lot of issues to correct heading into the 2013 season but the biggest one may be righting the passing attack. The Lions undoubtedly need to fix their secondary and add to their offensive line but all will be for naught if Matthew Stafford can’t win games for this team.