Detroit beat Arizona Sunday 17-3, but it came at a cost.
The Lions lost talented rookie defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand to a knee injury and veteran defensive end Ziggy Ansah to a shoulder injury just three plays apart in the second quarter. Both players were helped off the field, evaluated in the medical tent and then carted off the field to the locker room. Neither returned to the game.
Ansah was visibly upset leaving the field, and he was immediately ruled out for the rest of the game. Hand gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he headed out on the cart to the tunnel.
If Ansah's injury is season ending, it could be the last time we see him as a Lion. He's set to be an unrestricted free agent after the year. Ansah missed six games earlier this season with a shoulder injury. He has 10 tackles and four sacks in seven games played this season.
Hand was having a terrific season up to this point. He was Pro Football Focus' top-graded rookie interior defender and the No. 19 overall interior defender in the NFL.
Hand, Detroit's fourth-round pick this season, has 27 tackles, 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles up to this point in the season.
The severity of both injuries will become more clear as further medical evaluations are completed this week.
Unfortunately for Detroit, Hand and Ansah weren't alone in suffering injuries. Right tackle Rick Wagner suffered a concussion in the first half and didn't return. Fullback Nick Bellore injured an ankle in the first half and he too did not return. The team also lost wide receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring), cornerback Marcus Cooper Sr. (back) and safety Charles Washington (hamstring) in the game.
"Look, injuries happen," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said afterward. "We had a couple of them here today, though I think it's always important for us to maintain our philosophy of everyone has to be ready to go and everyone has to be focused and everyone has to make sure they're doing everything they can to prepare and go out and play.
"You never know when those situations are going to come up, so I was proud of those guys that had to in those situations."
It got so bad for the Lions on the injury front that 10-year veteran safety Glover Quin had to play some kick cover duties.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford said after the game he'll have to find a way to squeeze into the training room this week with all the injuries they're now dealing with.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 14 game against the Arizona Cardinals.
The natural grass playing surface at State Farm Stadium was slick and torn up, especially between the hashes. By halftime, the field was really a mess between the 20-yard lines in the middle of the field. Numerous players on both sides had trouble with their footing trying to cut.
It was something the Lions anticipated from watching film, but even they were a little shocked by the conditions after the game.
"You pay too much for a stadium like this to have grass that bad," defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said after the game.
Multiple players resorted to changing cleats throughout the contest because of the field conditions.
ANOTHER MISSED FIELD GOAL
Opponents were hitting on just 66.7 percent of their field goal attempts against the Detroit Lions this season, by far the lowest percentage in the league. For whatever reason, when facing the Lions, teams have struggled to put the ball through the uprights.
Add Cardinals kicker Zane Rodriquez to the list of kickers who've now missed kicks against Detroit. His 54-yard field goal bounced off the left upright in the second quarter. He did make a chip-shot field goal in the second half to finish 1-for-2 on the day.
Teams are now just 17-of-26 converting field goals against the Lions this season.
- With Jamal Agnew still trying to work his way back from IR, the Lions continue to explore punt return options. Add veteran Quandre Diggs to the mix of potential returners. He, Ellington and TJ Jones all returned punts for the Lions Sunday.
- Arizona came into the game third in the NFL with 38 sacks. They had just one Sunday, and Stafford was hit just twice total. Nice job by the guys up front in this one.