GLENDALE – With both the Lions and Cardinals decimated on offense by injury, points were going to be at a premium Sunday in Arizona.
There ended up being just 20 of them total between the two clubs, but 17 belonged to Detroit as they came out on the winning end of a 17-3 defensive battle.
Matt Prater hit a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter for the only points of the first half.
Lions cornerback Darius Slay picked off a Josh Rosen pass in the third quarter and returned it down the left sideline 67 yards for the first touchdown of his career. It gave Detroit a 10-0 lead at the time.
Following a Cardinals field goal that trimmed the lead to 10-3 midway through the fourth quarter, Detroit mounted a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive, led by 39 rushing yards from Zach Zenner and 36 yards in penalties capped off by a one-yard Zenner touchdown for the only offensive points of the game.
The Zenner touchdown gave Detroit what proved to be an insurmountable lead for a Cardinals team playing with a rookie quarterback and without its top six offensive linemen or leading receiver. Arizona netted 279 total yards in the game (61 rushing).
In the end, that was enough after another solid effort by Detroit's defense.
The Lions improve to 5-8 on the season with the victory and snap a two-game losing skid. It's also their first victory in Arizona since the 1993 season.
QB comparison: Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for just 101 yards, the lowest total of his career playing in a full game, but got the W in the win column completing 15-of-23 passes for those 101 yards with no turnovers. He finished with a 74.7 passer rating.
Rosen completed 26 of his 41 attempts for 240 yards with no touchdowns and that interception to Slay. He had a 69.2 passer rating.
Injury report: It was a game of attrition for the Lions.
Detroit lost defensive end Ziggy Ansah (shoulder), defensive tackle Da'Shawn Hand (knee), right tackle Rick Wagner (concussion), wide receiver Bruce Ellington (hamstring), cornerback Marcus Cooper Sr. (back) and safety Charles Washington (hamstring).
Hand and Ansah were injured three plays apart in the second quarter, and both were carted to the locker room, which is never a good sign.
Possession chart: Those out there who are fans of offensive football, look away. Here's what the possession charts for both teams looked like Sunday:
Detroit – Fumble, punt, punt, field goal, punt, punt, punt, punt, touchdown, punt
Arizona – Punt, punt, punt, missed field goal, punt, punt, interception, punt, field goal, downs
Stat of the day: Since 2014, Slay has recorded an NFL-leading 11 games with three-plus passes defended after getting three more Sunday in Arizona. The finger wag was in full effect in Arizona.
View in-game photos from the Detroit Lions Week 14 game against the Arizona Cardinals.