NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 Game Recap: Detroit Lions 30, Arizona Cardinals 12

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) makes a touchdown catch against Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard (42) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

This was supposed to be a bounceback spot for the Arizona Cardinals after losing to the Los Angeles Rams last week. Instead, they continued to cede ground in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a 30-12 loss at the hands of the Detroit Lions

Jared Goff outplayed Kyler Murray in the victory. Goff’s 8.3 yards per pass attempt and 139.7 passer rating were both season highs.


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Detroit Lions

Quarterback

Jared Goff has been much better from a clean pocket compared to under pressure throughout his career. Goff stepped up big under pressure in this one, though. 

Clean/Pressure Comp / Att Yards TD / INT
Kept Clean 16 / 20 129 1 / 0
Under pressure 5 / 6 86  2 / 0

He was charged with two turnover-worthy plays on PFF’s first-run analysis, which will drag down his PFF grade a bit. 

Running Back

Craig Reynolds had 32 career offensive snaps entering this game, and he more than doubled that with 42 snaps against Arizona. Reynolds took full advantage of that opportunity on the ground with 92 rushing yards after contact and nine missed tackles forced as a runner.   

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds led the way for Detroit in the passing game. St. Brown caught eight of his 10 targets, including both contested targets, for 90 yards and a touchdown. Reynolds caught all six of his targets for 67 yards and a touchdown.

No Lions receivers dropped a pass in the game.

Offensive Line

A lot of the credit for Detroit’s success on the ground can be attributed to Reynolds rather than the Lions’ effort as run-blockers. The team averaged just 0.7 yards before contact per rushing attempt against Arizona.

Penei Sewell had one of his worst performances since switching back to right tackle, where he has been excellent. He was charged with a loss on four of his 28 pass-blocking snaps in the game, pending review.

Defensive Line

Charles Harris led Detroit’s pass rush with two sacks and five total pressures in the game, pending review. He also added three tackles for loss or no gain in the run game.

Linebackers

Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Derrick Barnes combined for most of the linebacker snaps for Detroit. Reeves-Maybin was able to get after Kyler Murray as a blitzer, finishing the game with three pressures and a batted pass. 

Barnes missed nearly as many tackles (two) as he made (four).

Secondary

Amani Oruwariye made several impressive plays in this game, none more so than this full extension interception of Murray. 

Oruwariye allowed five receptions for 94 yards on 11 targets in total with that interception and forced incompletion (pending review). Will Harris also had a strong showing in coverage, allowing just 24 yards into his coverage on six targets. 

Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback

This was a worrying performance for Kyler Murray and the Cardinals' offense against a beatable Lions defense. Murray completed just 56% of his passes with a 72.9 passer rating, and he wasn’t able to add anything with his legs. 

He wasn’t as effective under pressure as he has been for most of the year. either. Murray completed just two of seven attempts when pressured and took two sacks. He was completing a league-high 60% of his passes under pressure coming into the week.

Running Back

James Conner and Chase Edmonds split the backfield work evenly for Arizona. 

Player Snaps Targets Carries
James Conner 32 2 8
Chase Edmonds 29 1 6

Arizona didn’t run the ball often due to the game script, but it did so effectively when needed. Edmonds picked up 53 yards on his six carries. Conner was the only one of the duo to catch a pass (two for 31 yards). 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

With DeAndre Hopkins out, Christian Kirk (12 targets), Zach Ertz (11 targets) and A.J. Green (eight targets) saw the most looks in the passing game. 

Kirk remains Murray’s deep threat of choice, snagging the only two receptions from that group on passes targeted 20-plus yards downfield.

Offensive Line

Kelvin Beachum was Arizona’s highest-graded offensive lineman, per PFF’s first-run analysis. He was impressive in the run game and allowed just two hurries on 53 pass-blocking snaps. 

Josh Jones delivered one of his best pass-protection performances of the season with just one quarterback hurry allowed in the game.

Defensive Line

It won’t show up in the box score, but Markus Golden was able to consistently win his reps as a pass-rusher. He was credited with two pressures and four additional pass-rushing wins that didn’t result in pressure.

Leki Fotu made the most of his limited playing time with three tackles and a forced fumble on 21 defensive snaps.

Linebackers

Isaiah Simmons was arguably the best player on Arizona’s defense in this game. He forced an incompletion in coverage, recorded a tackle for no gain against the run and picked up a pressure on Goff. 

Secondary

Byron Murphy was charged with four receptions allowed on five targets for 44 yards and a touchdown. The lone incompletion was an off-target pass from Goff. 

Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson were both credited with two missed tackles in the secondary, pending review.

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