Five reasons Detroit Lions beat Arizona Cardinals, 17-3

Detroit’s effective run game was key

Yikes. It was not pretty, but the Detroit Lions snapped their two-game losing streak with a 17-3 win at the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Detroit’s defense was key, holding Arizona to a field goal.

When the Cardinals came within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Lions ran downfield, eating up clock and finishing with a Zach Zenner touchdown run.

Neither offense could get much going. The Lions finished with 218 total yards while it was 279 for the Cardinals.

The Lions are now 5-8 in Matt Patricia’s first season, while the Cardinals drop to 3-10.

Five reasons the Lions won:

1. The injury-riddled defense was solid, holding the Cardinals to just a field goal and rattling rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Larry Fitzgerald was held to five catches (77 yards) while running back David Johnson had just 15 carries for 49 yards. The Cardinals managed just 73 yards of offense in the first half. Detroit linebacker Jarrad Davis was a standout with a sack, two tackles for loss, one pass defense, one quarterback hit and eight tackles.

2. Cornerback Darius Slay’s interception and return for touchdown in the third quarter, gave the Lions a 10-0 cushion. It was Slay’s first career pick-six and his third interception this season. He also broke up a potential touchdown catch by Larry Fitzgerald in the fourth quarter. It was one of his three pass defenses.

3. Matthew Stafford (15-23, 101 yards) played just well enough to win, but it was the effective running game that was key. The Lions had 122 rushing yards — led by Zach Zenner with 54 yards and LeGarrette Blount with 33 yards. Stafford’s aching back limited him in practice last week. It didn’t affect his arm strength — he threw deep downfield, but couldn’t connect on one longer than 17 yards.

4. It must say something that the Lions could win despite an incredible number of injures, most forcing players from the game. That includes Ziggy Ansah (shoulder), Da’Shawn Hand knee), Bruce Ellington (hamstring), Charles Washington (hamstring), Marcus Cooper (back), Rick Wagner (concussion), Nick Bellore, Luke Willson and Damon “Snacks” Harrison. Next man up, indeed.

(Photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)

5. It was a win. It was kind of ugly (really dreadful in the first half) but the Lions hung in there so there’s something that should be said for it.

NEXT UP: Lions (5-8) at Buffalo Bills (4-9), at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Five things to watch as Lions face Cardinals in Arizona

Cardinals coming off win at Green Bay

ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions have lost five of their last six and are out of the playoff picture. They will face the Cardinals, who are coming off a big 20-17 win at Green Bay, at Arizona at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday.

So that’s the Lions (4-8) against the Cardinals (3-9). Try not to get too excited.

Give credit to the Lions who have marched on this week just like any other week this season trying to put themselves in the best position for a win.

Arizona has been dealing with several injuries including wide receiver Christian Kirk and along the offensive line. It makes preparation more difficult for the Lions.

“You have to try to plan for things that you’ve certainly seen first and foremost off the tape and through their history of whatever games they played and situations they played that may be similar to the situations that they have now,’’ Detroit coach Matt Patricia said. “But there definitely are elements that can come up that you’re not going to have seen or have ready from a game-plan standpoint. You’re going to have to be able to adjust once you get into the game.’’

Here are five things to watch:

1. Take advantage of Arizona’s depleted offensive line. Offensive tackle DJ Humphries was just placed on injured reserve. The Cardinals now have none of their projected offensive line starters from training camp. “They’ve been able to block it up, use some extra guys in protection, been able to run the ball. Obviously, (they) just have a great back in David Johnson, have a great player in Larry Fitzgerald. The quarterback’s mobile, so he kind of can buy some time there, also. And I think they’re just using their strengths to their advantage in that situation to make up for whatever, maybe, deficiencies they have,’’ Patricia said.

2. Don’t take the Cards lightly. They’ve won seven of the last eight meetings with the Lions and have won eight straight against Detroit in Arizona. Quarterback Josh Rosen may be a rookie (the 10th overall pick) but he’s gaining experience each week. His numbers are less than gaudy with a 54.2 completion percentage and more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (10), but he was able to keep the chains moving at Lambeau Field.

3. Grab an early lead while the grabbing is good. The Cardinals have been outscored 181-92 in the first halves of their first 12 games. “We always want to start fast, you know? Especially on the road. They’re a good football team,’’ Matthew Stafford said. “Obviously, got a really good win against Green Bay at Green Bay, which is tough to do. A bunch of talented guys, a bunch of early-round draft picks, high-price, free agent type guys on that team have been good for a long time. So, we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

4. Set the pace in tune with Stafford’s abilities. The quarterback has usually been better running a two-minute drill, so step it up a bit. The Lions’ offensive line should be able to give Stafford time although the Cardinals do have a pass rush that ranks fourth in the NFL.

5. Running back Kerryon Johnson will miss his third straight game but the Lions have to stay with the run game. LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner each has his strengths so make the best of them. Although calling a draw on a third-and-19 perhaps is not the right time to stay on the ground.

PREDICTION: Cardinals 24, Lions 17

Detroit Lions Da’Shawn Hand claims he’s a snacks connoisseur and proves it

Flaming-hot Funyuns a favorite

ALLEN PARK — Da’Shawn Hand may be a rookie, but the Lions defensive tackle knows his snacks. In fact, he considers himself a connoisseur.

Oddly enough, his locker is next to NFL veteran Damon “Snacks” Harrison who earned his reputation over the years.

“You can ask the whole D-line, they get mad at me because I can eat. But see, I got a good figure. Hey, listen. It’s hard to come by. I ain’t saying nothing about Snacks’ (figure),’’ said Hand who is 6-foot-3 and a svelte 297 pounds, compared to the original “Snacks” who weighs 353.

Either Hand can’t narrow down his favorite snacks, or he’s looking for a sponsor.

“See it depends on what I’m in the mood for. I can always do a good fruit snack. You’ve got different types of fruit snacks. You’ve got the Welch’s, you’ve got Scooby-Doo. Then like Mott’s it just depends. Welch’s is a solid universe everybody likes that. Mott’s I’ve got to be in the mood for, I get kind of tired. then you’ve got fruit-rollups, oh man,’’ said Hand who was just getting started.

“Then Danish, you’ve got little cakes  — you’ve got oatmeal cream pies, you’ve got zebra cakes, you’ve got little strawberry shortcake rolls. There’s just endless possibilities.’’

Onto salty snacks.

“Then as far as chips I like flaming-hot stuff. So you’ve got flaming-hot Funyuns (not regular Funyuns). You get that with a nice sandwich – ooohh.”

Then the understatement.

“I like eating. You opened up something,’’ Hand said.

“You know Italian subs — instead of ham you get turkey then everything else — pepperonis and all that stuff,’’ said Hand seemed to be enjoying his snacks soliloquy.

“How about Hand sandwich? Hands-on Club?” He’s right, so many possibilities.

Don’t forget candy.

“Chocolate, I’ll do Twix and maybe a KitKat, Butterfinger, Reese’s sometimes. When it comes to candy, I LOVE candy. Especially sour stuff — sour gummy worms, sour gummy bears, strawberry sour patches those are the best type for real,’’ Hand said. “If you’ve learned something today, I highly recommend you try it.’’

We’ve also learned that Hand knows his way around the snacks aisle at the grocery store.