Cardinals lose chance to clinch, fall 30-12 to lowly Lions

Dec 18, 2021, 11:30 PM | Updated: Dec 19, 2021, 2:44 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is sacked by Detroit Lions outside linebacker Charle...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is sacked by Detroit Lions outside linebacker Charles Harris (53) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

DETROIT (AP) — Kyler Murray had nowhere to run and his passes often missed the mark.

Murray’s shaky performance helped the Detroit Lions stun the Arizona Cardinals 30-12 on Sunday.

The Cardinals (10-4) started the day tied for the NFL’s best record, undefeated on the road and a win away from ending a six-year postseason drought.

Meanwhile, the Lions (2-11-1) were at the bottom of the league standings before the first snap and somehow looked as if they were the team that had more at stake.

“They were hungrier than us,” Murray said. “They played harder than us.”

Arizona, coming off a loss on Monday night to the NFC West-rival Los Angeles Rams, missed its chance to get in the playoffs for the first time since 2015 with a win over a team it was favored to beat by nearly two touchdowns.

“We didn’t come prepared at all and it showed,” Murray said.

The Cardinals can still earn a postseason berth during Week 15, but they’ll need some other playoff contenders to lose or tie.

In any scenario, Murray will have to play better.

The third-year quarterback was 23 of 41 for 257 yards with a touchdown and an interception, adding up to a 72.9 passer rating. The third-year pro has had a slightly lower rating twice this season, and the Cardinals lost both games to the Rams and Green Bay.

Murray couldn’t get away from the scrappy Lions when he tried to run, finishing with 3 yards rushing on four carries, against a scheme set up by defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.

“We played aggressively against him and we hit him, and I think you saw the result of that,” coach Dan Campbell said. “We needed to hit him and bottle him up, and AG put together a great game plan.”

By the time Murray threw a touchdown pass, there was 4:40 left in the game and Arizona trailed by 15 points.

Detroit kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive, essentially sealing the win, and coach Kliff Kingsbury took Murray out and put backup Colt McCoy in the game.

In one of the many surprises at Ford Field, Jared Goff was the best quarterback on the turf. Goff completed 21 of 26 passes for 216 yards with three touchdowns.

Detroit’s Craig Reynolds ran for a career-high 112 yards and rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown had a touchdown and 90 yards receiving, setting a season high for the second straight week.

“You know the game we’ve talked about playing all season? This was that game,” Goff said. “This is what we knew we could do.”

The Cardinals took their own wide-body jet, complete with 28 lie-down seats, to the game and might’ve gotten too comfortable on the way to the Motor City.

“They had a better sense of urgency from the start,” Kingsbury lamented.

Detroit opened the game with a 15-play, 63-yard drive that took 8:50 off the clock and ended with a field goal.

The Cardinals, who gained 17 yards on their first three possessions, finally started moving the ball late in the second quarter only to have the drive end at the Lions 3 when Murray’s pass fell incomplete on fourth down.

Early in the third, Arizona settled for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-3 at the Lions 11.

Detroit picked up a pair of first downs on the ensuing drive to get into Arizona territory before running back Godwin Igwebuike lost a fumble for the second straight week.

Two snaps later, cornerback Amani Oruwariye fully extended to pick off a pass Murray threw to the outside toward A.J. Green, who didn’t come back to the ball, and returned it 50 yards. On the next play, Goff threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jason Cabinda to put the Lions ahead 24-3 and Arizona never put up much of a fight to come back.

Since starting 7-0, the Cardinals have lost four of their past seven games.

“We can’t let this thing spiral,” tight end Zach Ertz said. “Momentum is real in the NFL, good and bad.”


Cardinals: WR DeAndre Hopkins (knee) went on injured reserve Saturday, and RB Chase Edmonds (ankle) was activated for the first time in more than a month. DE Jordan Phillips (knee) and WR Rondale Moore (ankle) were hurt against Detroit.

Lions: RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder) was inactive for a third straight game and G Jonah Jackson (back) was not cleared to play. LBs Alex Anzalone (shoulder) and LB Josh Woods (shoulder) were hurt during the game.


Cardinals: host Indianapolis on Saturday.

Lions: play at Atlanta on Sunday.


Follow Larry Lage at


More AP NFL coverage: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge reacts after walking against Boston Red Sox starting...
Associated Press

Red Sox-Yanks in rain delay with Judge still looking for 61

NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge was due up next for the New York Yankees when their game Sunday night against the Boston Red Sox went into a rain delay after six innings. With the star slugger still at 60 home runs, one short of Roger Maris’ American League record for a season, fans at […]
19 hours ago
Tyler Reddick drives in front of Erik Jones (43) during the NASCAR Cup Series auto race at Texas Mo...
Associated Press

Reddick wins NASCAR playoff race in long, tiring Texas day

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Tyler Reddick opened the round of 12 in NASCAR’s playoff with a victory at Texas on Sunday, winning a week after being one of the first four Cup drivers knocked out of title contention. After none of the contenders won the first three races of the playoffs — a first […]
19 hours ago
Atlanta Braves's Ronald Acuna Jr. celebrates after scoring on an RBI single by Michael Harris II du...
Associated Press

Acuña delivers late, Braves outlast Phillies 8-7 in 11

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Ronald Acuña singled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and the Braves stayed close in the NL East race, outlasting the Phillies 8-7 Sunday in a game that took over six hours to complete because of a two-hour rain delay. “Our goal is to win the World Series again,” Acuna […]
19 hours ago
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady thorws during the second half of an NFL football game against the G...
Associated Press

Rodgers throws for 2 TDs, Packers hold off Brady, Bucs 14-12

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers did just enough to beat Tom Brady and the short-handed Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFL MVP threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns, and the Packers withstood a late rally led by Brady to hold off the Bucs for a 14-12 victory in the […]
19 hours ago
New York Mets designated hitter Pete Alonso (20) reacts after a home run in the fourth inning of a ...
Associated Press

Alonso sets team RBI mark; Scherzer, Mets top A’s, hold lead

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Pete Alonso homered, doubled and drove in five runs to set the team record for RBIs, Max Scherzer pitched six sharp innings and the New York Mets routed the Oakland Athletics 13-4 Sunday to hold their NL East lead. The Mets remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta. New York has […]
19 hours ago
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London, center, scores a touchdown during the second half of an...
Associated Press

Cordarrelle Patterson rumbles Falcons past Seahawks 27-23

SEATTLE (AP) — After more than a week away from home, Cordarrelle Patterson wasn’t about to head back to Atlanta as one of two winless teams in the NFL. “We’ve been away for eight days. I told them there’s no way I’m coming home with a ‘L,'” Patterson said. “My family would kill me if […]
19 hours ago
Cardinals lose chance to clinch, fall 30-12 to lowly Lions