What an absolutely amazing job by this defense. A first half shutout, and holding one of the better offenses in the league to just 12 points. The Lions allowed just 6 points until the final few moments, when the Cardinals got a garbage time score.
The Lions were incredibly aggressive, making sure Kyler Murray wasn’t comfortable in the pocket. The plan worked, as Murray missed throws all game long due to the constant pressure he was faced with and he just generally was off.
For some reason, the Detroit Lions seem to have Kyler Murray’s number.
Shutting down this offense that convincingly was not something anyone expected. Then again, that can be said for this game as a whole.
The Cardinals had their opportunities, but Detroit held up in the red zone, forcing Arizona to settle for two 29-yard field goals with a turnover on downs in Lions’ territory. This defense did not bend often, but when they did they never broke.
This was quite simply a defensive clinic from the Lions.
Best defensive player: OLB Charles Harris
Harris was flat-out unbelievable in this game, continuing his career year.
Harris was flying around all game, making plays in both the run and pass rush game.
His 1.5 sacks in this game pushed his season total to 7.5. Which is more than he had in his previous four seasons combined.
He has proved to be an incredible find by Brad Holmes and the Lions front office. Harris has been one of the more consistent players on the entire team this year.
Honorable mention: CB Amani Oruwariye
Oruwariye continues to be an elite ball-hawk. He made an absolutely unbelievable play to pick off Murray and set up the Lions in prime field position.
That marks Oruwariye’s sixth pick of the season, as he remains in the top three league-wide in interceptions.
Worst defensive player: CB A.J. Parker
It was difficult to identify any defensive performance that was subpar for the Lions on Sunday.
Parker had a few great pass breakups in this game, but he did get beat a few times, including the lone Cardinals touchdown, and a deep shot that was mere inches away from being another score.
For an undrafted free agent rookie, Parker has been really good. However, this game highlighted the risk you take when you trust a rookie that much. You have to take the good with the bad, and this week the negative plays outweighed what positives Parker brought.
Special Teams-3/5 Stars
Riley Patterson remained perfect, hitting all three of his field goals and all three of his extra point attempts. He has provided the Lions with some stability at the kicking position, which has been a pleasant surprise.
Jack Fox had a mediocre day by his standards. He averaged under 45 yards per punt, though he did have one kick settle inside the 20.
Kalif Raymond had some decent returns, one for 14 yards and one for 10 yards. Godwin Igwebuike’s lone kick return only went for 17 yards.
The kick and punt coverage had a few breakdowns. The Cardinals had two 31-yard kick returns, and Rondale Moore had a couple of decent punt returns.
So it was an up-and-down effort from the special teams, but overall it was good enough.