Burning questions in the Detroit Lions' 26-23 road win over the Arizona Cardinals:
Question: What did the Lions do that was different from losing the first two games?
Answer: You can sum it up in one word, and it is something that head coach Matt Patricia and his players have been harping about since the start of the season.
That sums it up.
It wasn't a perfect performance, but that didn't matter. The Lions didn't have any major lapses, like the ones that cost them in the first two games. The offense kept the pressure on to sustain drives, and the defense hung in by creating turnovers and getting key stops in the fourth quarter.
Question: What was the key stat?
Answer: Turnovers. It was 3-0 in favor of the Lions. The Lions got all three of their turnovers on interceptions. They converted them into 10 points, on a touchdown and field goal. They punted after one interception.
Question: Wide receiver Kenny Golladay's return: How important was it to have him back after missing the first two games with a hamstring injury?
Answer: This is one question that can be answered in the stats: Six catches out of seven targets for 57 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came on a 15-yard catch with 31 seconds left in the half, and it gave the Lions a 17-13 lead going into the half.
It was a big momentum swing for the Lions, especially with the Cardinals getting the second-half kickoff and a chance to extend a 13-10 lead.
The late score by the Lions meant it would be a close game throughout the second half. The Cardinals never got control.
Question: Was this the best performance by the Lions' defense this season?
Answer: So far, by far. The defense kept Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray from running wild – just 29 yards on five runs with one TD. And they kept him in the pocket and forced him to throw. Murray threw two TD passes, but that was balanced in the Lions' favor by the three interceptions.
All in all, a good tradeoff – and a victory the Lions needed badly.