The Detroit Lions kicked off their 2017 NFL regular season at home by defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Ford Field, 35-23.
The Detroit Lions opened their regular season at home on Sunday, September 10th, with a hard-fought victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The 35-23 win at Ford Field helps the Lions get started on the right foot. But bigger challenges lay ahead.
Sunday’s victory was a terrific regular season debut for Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. Recently made the highest paid player in NFL history after signing a massive six-year, $135 million contract late last month, the 29-year old passer responded with a MVP-like outing against Arizona.
Stafford finished the day completing 29 of his 41 passes for 291 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His favorite target? Rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who caught four of Stafford’s passes for 69 yards and two second-half scores.
Also scoring for the Lions were wide receiver Marvin jones Jr. and running back Theo Riddick, who each had a touchdown reception.
It wasn’t all good news for Detroit, as their ground game struggled against the Cardinals stout front seven. Running back Ameer Abdullah led the team with 30 yards on 15 carries. Back-up Dwayne Washington was slightly more successful, gaining 22 rushing yards on just six attempts. This is an area the Lions’ must improve on moving forward.
Defensively, the Motor City did a great job of containing Arizona’s touted offense. The Lions limited opposing quarterback Carson Palmer to 269 passing yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Defensive backs Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew all came away with picks. Killebrew scored a defensive touchdown on his interception.
The Lions defense also successfully held Arizona’s All-Pro running back David Johnson to just 23 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Although Johnson did have six receptions for 68 yards, he also fumbled the ball twice and left the game late in the third quarter due to a wrist injury.
It was also a solid debut for Detroit’s 2017 first round selection Jarrad Davis. The young linebacker posted a team-high nine solo tackles and a key fumble recovery against the Cardinals on Sunday. And second-year defense end Anthony Zettel posted the Lions’ only sack of the game, and just the second of his career.
With a solid victory under their belts, the Detroit Lions will next head to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey to face the New York Giants on September 18th for a primetime game on Monday Night Football.