Cardinals punish Detroit errors
Arizona turned four turnovers by Detroit into touchdowns, including Greg Toler's 102-yard interception return - the longest in franchise history - to beat the Lions 38-10 on Sunday and end a nine-game losing streak.
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It was the Cardinals' first win since beating Miami on Sept. 30, and it sent the Lions to their sixth straight loss.
The Cardinals (5-9) intercepted Matthew Stafford three times, returning two of them for scores and setting up a TD with the other. Rashad Johnson brought back a pick 53 yards for a touchdown to cap Arizona's 21-point second quarter. Patrick Peterson's seventh interception of the season set up another score.
Another TD by Arizona came after Detroit (4-10) muffed a punt.
Detroit's Calvin Johnson became the first player in NFL history with consecutive 1,600-yard receiving seasons and tied an NFL record with his seventh straight 100-yard receiving game.
Johnson caught 10 passes for 121 yards. With two games to play, he needs 182 yards to break Jerry Rice's NFL single-season record of 1,848 set 17 years ago. Johnson's 3,348 yards receiving in the past two seasons are NFL record for consecutive years, one more than Rice's total in 1994-95.
But Johnson's big numbers were the only bright spots on an afternoon when the Lions' season turned from bad to worse.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, found redemption a week after a 58-0 loss in Seattle, the most one-sided defeat in franchise history.
Arizona's Beanie Wells had touchdown runs of 5, 1 and 31 yards.
The Cardinals, who avoided tying the franchise record for consecutive losses in the season, had gone 11 quarters without a touchdown before getting three of them in the second quarter Sunday.
Down 7-0, Arizona was forced to punt. But return man Stefan Logan, trying to make a fair catch, had his feet knocked out from under him by teammate Pat Lee, who was trying to block Michael Adams. Adams chased the ball down at the Detroit 5, and Wells scored on the next play up the middle to tie it at 7 with 9:18 left in the half.
Two possessions later, a pair of false-start penalties pushed the Lions back to their 2-yard line. Stafford overthrew Johnson, and Peterson made a leaping interception, falling to his backside after he caught the ball. He scrambled to his feet and returned 29 yards to the Detroit 3. Two plays later, Wells scored from the 1 and the Lions led 14-7.
After a pair of incompletions and a false start, the Lions had it third-and-15 from their 43 when Stafford threw an ill-advised pass in the direction of Tony Scheffler. Rashad Johnson saw it all the way, intercepting it and running down the right sideline for the score to make it 21-7 with 30 seconds left in the half.
Arizona's offense got three points on its own in the third quarter. Ryan Lindley's 14-yard pass to Andre Roberts, followed by a 13-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald, set up Jay Feely's 51-yard field goal that made it 24-7 with 9:19 left in the third quarter.
Jason Hanson's 41-yard field goal cut it to 24-10 with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
A 30-yard pass to Calvin Johnson highlighted a drive that had Detroit threatening to cut the lead to a touchdown in the final quarter. But on fourth-and-2 from the 4, Stafford's pass into the end zone went right into the arms of Toler, who with a brigade of blockers ran the length of the field for the score that made it 31-10 with 5:07 to play.
The Cardinals added a final touchdown on Wells' 31-yard run after the Lions had given the ball up on downs.
Arizona managed just 196 yards of offense, but scored its most points of the season, thanks to converting four turnovers into TDs.
The rookie Lindley, in his third NFL start, was 14 of 21 for 104 yards and one interception.
Stafford, at the controls of an offense that entered the game ranked second in the NFL, was 24 of 50 for 246 yards, his second-fewest of the season. He threw for 230 in a loss to San Francisco in week two.
The Lions had blown double-digit leads in their last three games, tying an NFL record. They barely scored in double digits in this one.