Darius Slay returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown and Detroit beat the punchless Cardinals 17-3 on Sunday, the Lions’ first win in Arizona since 1993.
Slay stepped in front of intended receiver Trent Sherfield, picked off Josh Rosen’s pass and raced down the left sideline for the third-quarter score as the Lions (5-8) ended an eight-game losing streak in the desert.
Arizona (3-10) avoided being shut out with Zane Gonzalez’s 22-yard field goal that cut the lead to 10-3 with 8:14 to play.
Rosen completed four of six passes as Arizona drove to the 5-yard line, but a fade pass to Larry Fitzgerald was incomplete and the Cardinals, who fell to 1-6 at home, settled for the field goal.
Detroit took the subsequent kickoff and went 75 yards in seven plays, with the help of a pass interference penalty against Budda Baker, and Zach Zenner’s 1-yard touchdown run with 4:05 to play put the game safely in the Lions’ control.
Matt Prater’s 47-yard field goal in the first half accounted for the other Detroit points on a day neither offense could do much.
Fitzgerald caught five passes, all in the second half and most when the game had been all but decided, to move ahead of Jerry Rice for most receptions by a player for one team at 1,286.
Detroit took the opening kickoff and moved downfield with a strong running game. But after a short pass from Matthew Stafford, LeGarrette Blount had the ball knocked loose by Baker, who recovered at the Cardinals 30.
Neither team threatened again until the Lions used up 7 minutes, 55 seconds to drive 65 yards and set up Prater’s field goal with 9:35 left in the first half.
Arizona took the kickoff and got a 19-yard pass from Rosen to Sherfield, combined with a facemask penalty against Detroit, moved the ball to the Lions 30. But a pass to David Johnson lost 6 yards and Gonzalez’s 54-yard field goal try had plenty of distance but bounced off the left upright.
Fitzgerald, who entered the game with at least one catch in 223 consecutive games, was targeted once and didn’t have a catch in the first half. Finally, with 5:48 left in the third quarter, Fitzgerald’s 14-yard reception kept the streak alive and moved him ahead of Rice. Three of his catches came the last time Arizona had the ball.
Detroit was hit hard by injuries. In the span of three plays, the Lions lost defensive ends Ezekiel Ansah (knee) and Da’Shawn Hand (shoulder). Later in the half, right tackle Rick Wagner left with a concussion. The team also lost fullback Nick Bellore (ankle), wide receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring), cornerback Marcus Cooper (back) and safety Charles Washington (hamstring).
Arizona wide receiver Chad Williams was inactive after aggravating a hamstring injury late last week.
Lions: at Buffalo next Sunday.
Cardinals: at Atlanta next Sunday.
Source: The Associated Press