Once again, mistakes are a major problem for the Detroit Lions.
The Lions had eight penalties for 101 yards, missed all their field goal attempts, lost a fumble deep in their own territory and generally shot themselves in the foot repeatedly in a 25-21 loss to the Cardinals.
The final mistake came on their final offensive play, when Lions receiver Nate Burleson ran too short a route on fourth-and-four and was tackled by Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu a yard short of a first down. That killed their last-gasp drive after Detroit had given up the go-ahead touchdown (on a Cardinals drive aided by a 31-yard pass interference penalty) with 1:59 to play.
Both offenses were operating at less than full strength after Reggie Bush left the game with a knee injury and Larry Fitzgerald left the game with a hamstring injury, but the Cardinals adjusted better to losing a key player, as Carson Palmer spread the ball around to a cast of receivers that even included cornerback Patrick Peterson, who played some offense, caught a pass and even threw a pass for a completion and a first down.
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had a big game in a losing effort, getting the better of Peterson on his way to a six-catch, 116-yard, two-touchdown day. But Johnson couldn’t do it all himself, and the Lions couldn’t hold on to win despite leading for most of the game.
For the Cardinals, the win is their first victory with Palmer and new coach Bruce Arians, and they have to feel good about the way they played. But the Lions have to feel terrible. As they have far too often in recent years, they got in their own way and turned a game they could have won into a loss.