Lions offense held without TD in loss to Arizona
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Detroit Lions entered the game with the No. 1 defense in the NFL. Another pretty good defense shut the Lions offense down on Sunday.
Detroit (7-3) failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time since 2009 in a 14-6 loss to the streaking Arizona Cardinals (9-1).
"When you score six points," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said, "you're not going to win a whole lot of games."
Detroit's defense played the Cardinals' tough, except on Arizona's first two possessions.
The Cardinals scored on both, Drew Stanton throwing a pair of touchdown passes to Michael Floyd.
Detroit got inside Arizona's 20-yard line once, and that was after one of Stanton's two interceptions. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for Detroit.
Stanton, starting after Carson Palmer was lost for the season with a knee injury, threw TD passes of 42 and 12 yards. After that, Arizona's offense stalled and Stanton threw two interceptions. But the Lions couldn't convert either turnover into a touchdown.
Arizona, with the NFL's best record, won its sixth in a row and has its best record through 10 games since 1948. The Cardinals also have a three-game lead over Seattle and San Francisco in the NFC West.
"Good football team we played today," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "They played well, played tough."
Arizona held an opponent without a TD for the first time this season.
Stanton, 3-1 as a starter this season, finished 21 of 32 for 306 yards. Stafford was 18 of 30 for 183 yards with one interception.
Calvin Johnson, usually defended by Patrick Peterson, had five catches for 59 yards for the Lions, only one for 4 yards in the first half.
"It's just frustrating when you leave plays on the field," he said. "Then when your defense is playing their butts off, holding them to 14, you figure you're going to win all those games."
After the game, Johnson was treated for an elbow injury.
"A little elbow issue," he said. "I'm all right."
Asked how much it limited him, Johnson replied, "I was out there all day."
The Lions were without Reggie Bush and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, and lost right tackle LaAdrian Waddle to an ankle injury in the second half.
Detroit did gain 98 yards on the ground.
"That was one silver lining," Caldwell said.
Neither team scored in the second half in a matchup of two of the game's best defenses.
Detroit's only real threat came late in the first half.
Cassius Vaughn intercepted Stanton's pass and got the ball at the 19. Detroit advanced it to the 10 and Caldwell challenged the spot, arguing that it should have been a first down. But the spot stood and Caldwell decided to go four a field goal on fourth-and-1.
"That was huge, huge," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. "After that interception, to hold them to three I thought set the tempo for the rest of the football game."
The reversal of an officials' call early in the fourth quarter played a big role in the game.
Arizona's Justin Bethel got to a punt by the Cardinals at Detroit's 1-yard line. Bethel tossed the ball away from the end zone, and after it hit another Cardinal or two, Detroit's Jeremy Ross picked it up and ran 49 yards to the Arizona 45. Arians challenged the play, arguing that Bethel had possession of the ball at the 1 and did not bat it back. After a review, Arians won the challenge and the Lions had to start from the 1.
"They said (Bethel) possessed the ball, and that's the ruling," Caldwell said. "It doesn't matter what I think."
A 12-yard pass from Stanton to Larry Fitzgerald on third-and-11 in the final minutes sealed the victory.
The Cardinals took the opening kick and went 80 yards in six plays. The next time they got the ball, they went 77 yards in seven plays.
Stanton was 3 of 4 for 59 yards in the first TD drive and 3 of 4 for 77 yards in the second.
After Matt Prater's 50-yard field goal hit the left upright and bounced through to make it 14-3, the Cardinals mounted another long drive. But on first down from the Lions 14, Stanton's pass was intercepted by Josh Bynes.
NOTES: The Lions had come from behind in the fourth quarter to win their previous three games. ... The Cardinals have intercepted 15 passes. ... Arizona plays next Sunday at Seattle, where the Cardinals won last year. ... The Cardinals play four of their last six on the road. ... Detroit is at New England next week.