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Detroit Lions fall to Arizona Cardinals, 25-21

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer scrambles against the

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer scrambles against the Detroit Lions during the second half. (Sept. 15, 2013) Credit: AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Bruce Arians is 1-0 at home as Arizona's coach, thanks to a stout defensive stand and a late pass interference penalty that doomed the Detroit Lions.

The penalty against Bill Bentley in the end zone set up Rashard Mendenhall's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:59 to play Sunday in the Cardinals' 25-21 victory.

Jay Feely kicked four field goals and Carson Palmer threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to rookie Andre Ellington for Arizona (1-1). Ellington also had a 16-yard catch to start the deciding drive.

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.

Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald played despite a sore hamstring but was unable to finish the contest. Detroit's Reggie Bush injured his left knee in the first half and played only briefly in the second.

Arizona's defense, which held the Lions' offense scoreless in the second half, forced Detroit to punt from its 8-yard line late.

The Cardinals took over at their 39 and Palmer's 16-yard pass to Ellington quickly moved it to the Detroit 45. The drive stalled at the 32, and on third-and-eight Palmer threw deep for Andre Roberts, who slowed down to wait for the ball and was hit by Bentley.

After an incomplete pass, Palmer handed off to Mendenhall, who stretched the ball over the goal line with one hand for the deciding score.

Palmer's pass on the two-point conversion attempt failed. The Lions hopes ended when Nate Burleson was stopped short of the first down.

While Feely was good from 47, 23, 43 and 33 yards, Detroit's David Akers missed a 47-yarder and had another 47-yard attempt blocked by Justin Bethel.

Stafford completed 24 of 36 for 278 yards and two TDs but was only 8 of 16 for 77 yards in the second half. Palmer finished 22 of 39 for 248 yards.

Detroit was without standout defensive tackle Nick Fairley with a sore shoulder.

Actually, Akers misfired twice in Detroit's first scoring threat. His 52-yard attempt was wide right, but Bethel was called for running into the kicker. Then, Akers' 47-yard attempt was wide left.

Feely made his 47-yard try to put Arizona up 3-0 with 11:44 left in the half.

Three plays later, Stafford threw short over the middle to Johnson, who raced 72 yards for the score. Arizona's Karlos Dansby had a chance to knock the pass down or intercept, but Stafford threw the ball so hard it zipped past the linebacker. Patrick Peterson, meanwhile, was playing well off Johnson and had no chance to get to him.

The Cardinals responded with a six-play, 80-yard drive on their next possession. Palmer lofted a 22-yard pass to Fitzgerald, then found Ellington open on a 36-yard play for the score to put Arizona up 10-7 with 7:32 to play in the second quarter.

Detroit regained the lead with a 10-play, 92-yard touchdown drive capped by Stafford's 3-yard touchdown pass to Johnson with 1:55 left in the half.

Bush left the game after taking a helmet to the knee early in the second quarter, but returned for Detroit's final series of the half and was in on a few plays early in the second.

Deep in their own territory, Detroit turned it over on its first possession of the second half when Bush fumbled the handoff from Stafford and Calais Campbell recovered at the Lions 7. But Arizona's offense couldn't take advantage and Feely's 23-yard field goal cut the Detroit lead to 14-13.

Moments later, under pressure, Palmer threw the ball right into the hands of Levy, who went 66 yards for a touchdown to put Detroit up 21-13 with 7:04 left in the third.

The Cardinals chipped away with two more field goals, a 43-yarder and 33-yarder that cut the lead to 21-19 with 14:17 left.

Detroit had a chance to boost the lead but Bethel, fast becoming one of the NFL's top special teams players, blocked Akers' 47-yard field goal try. Arizona couldn't get into field goal range, though. A third-down pass to Michael Floyd was ruled incomplete. Arians challenged but the ruling was upheld and the Cardinals had to punt, pinning the Lions at their own 8.

Detroit went nowhere from there and Arizona got the ball back with plenty of time for the deciding drive.


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