Cardinals get late touchdown to beat Lions
GLENDALE - Carson Palmer knew Detroit's reputation for penalties, so when he let go of his pass with the game on the line, a pass interference call was a definite possibility.
Lions cornerback Bill Bentley collided with receiver Andre Roberts in the end zone. A flag was thrown, a 31-yard penalty was called. It was Arizona's only third-down conversion - in 10 tries - of the day.
Two plays later, Rashard Mendenhall scored on a 1-yard run with 1:59 to play and the Cardinals won 25-21 on Sunday in Bruce Arians' home debut as Arizona's coach.
"It's something we talked about a lot," Palmer said. "Those DBs play the receiver, they don't play the ball, and when we have opportunities and they're staring at the receiver, they're going to face-guard. Dre (Roberts) did a great job setting that up."
Jay Feely kicked four field goals and Carson Palmer threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to rookie Andre Ellington for Arizona (1-1). Ellington, a sixth-round draft pick out of Clemson, also had a 16-yard catch to start the deciding drive.
"It's not always going to be perfect," Arians said. "You've got to learn how to ride the emotions of the game, stay with it. I thought our coaches did a great job with some adjustments in the second half and some young kids really stepped up."
Kerry Taylor, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, had three catches for 40 yards, all late in the game with Larry Fitzgerald sidelined with a sore hamstring. They were Taylor's first NFL catches.
Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson on touchdown plays of 72 and 3 yards, and DeAndre Levy returned an interception 66 yards for a score for Detroit (1-1), which led 21-13 midway through the third quarter.
Time and again, Detroit found itself starting deep in its own territory.
"I feel like we lost the field position battle today big-time," Stafford said.
The Lions were penalized eight times for 101 yards.
Asked how the team could cut down on that problem, Stafford said the Lions are trying.
"We're making a concerted effort to try and play cleaner football this year," he said. "I don't know. Maybe (we should be) asking them to quit throwing flags on us, I don't know."
Detroit's Reggie Bush left the game after taking a helmet to the knee early in the second quarter, and played only briefly in the second half.
"I was able to go back in the game, but I wasn't myself," he said. "I probably shouldn't have gone back in the game, but I tried to give it a shot. We will see what happens this week. I am not sure, but I don't think it is anything serious."
Detroit also was without standout defensive tackle Nick Fairley with a sore shoulder.
Arizona's defense, which held the Lions' offense scoreless in the second half, forced Detroit to punt from its 8 late.
Notes: After the game, Peterson asked Johnson to trade jerseys and the Lions star obliged. ... Besides defending Johnson and returning punts, Peterson also caught a pass and completed one. ... Detroit is the only team Arizona has beaten in the Cardinals' last 14 games. Arizona has beaten the Lions twice and gone 0-12 against everyone else ... Campbell got Arizona's first sack of the season.