Lions-Cardinals: Detroit Comeback Falls Short in 31-24 Loss

Joe HojnackiContributor IDecember 20, 2009

DETROIT , MI - DECEMBER 20:  Daunte Culpepper #11 of the Detroit Lions thows a first quarter pass in front of Bryan Robinson #97 of the Arizona Cardinals on December 20, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Lions showed a little bit of heart in this one. For once, the defense sparked the team, and the crowd, and gave them the momentum to make a game out of this one.

The Delmas interception came at a time when the Lions looked down and out. They had just given up a big interception and Arizona was knocking on the door ready to score another touchdown that would have been the knockout blow. Instead, Delmas showed that he has the capability to become a big time NFL play maker by taking back an interception 100 yards for six points.

Sadly, while the defense may have provided the initial spark, they also failed when they were needed most. When the game was tied and Arizona had the ball, the defense looked absent again. They couldn't tackle Beanie Wells at any point in this game. On his 18-yard-touchdown run, the Lions had nine guys in the box. Nine guys near the line of scrimmage to stop the run. Wells carried several Lions into the end zone for the score. On what turned out to be the winning drive for Arizona, the team failed to tackle Wells as he took the ball to the 12-yard-line to set up the winner.

When Drew Stanton entered the game in the second half, the attitude of the team and fans changed. Nobody was playing for Culpepper and the crowd did not seem like they cared at all. I really was not into the game in the first half. Arizona wasn't dominating. The Lions were not out of the game. The place just seemed to lack any energy, both on the field and in the seats surrounding it. Stanton first brought some energy to the team.

I bet Stanton gets the start next week in San Francisco if Matt Stafford is unable to go. Culpepper no longer gives the Lions the best chance to win. I don't think that Stanton makes things much better, but the team looked more like they wanted to play for him than they did for Dante.

Maurice Morris had a strong effort in place of Kevin Smith. He rightfully gets the credit for his 126-yard day and the 64-yard touchdown. But how about the line on that long run? Morris had the room to run because of great blocking in the running lane. The line pulled well and punched out the Arizona defenders and allowed Morris to run virtually untouched for the score.

The special teams was a mess for both teams. I have never seen a game where each team loses a muffed punt on a fair catch. The Northcutt muff and the Breaston one were both bonehead plays that could have cost each team the game.

Speaking of the Breaston muff in the fourth quarter, the Lions did not take advantage of the opportunities they were handed. The muff was a gift and we were unable to punch it home for any points. I agree with going for it on the fourth down, when down by a touchdown, but we needed to convert. The other gift was the double unsportsmanlike conduct on Bryan Robinson. We were given the football with fantastic field position and the momentum on our side and we only got a field goal. Converting the fourth down and getting six instead of three points after the penalties win the game for us.

Overall, we showed heart when the team did not give up at halftime like they appeared to last week. We also showed that defense should be our main priority in the coming offseason. We let the Cardinals march down the field much to easily when it mattered the most, thus costing us the game.