RECAP: Lions at Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Sometimes a tie can feel like a loss.

That has to be the case for the Detroit Lions Sunday after letting a 24-6 fourth-quarter lead dissolve into a 27-27 overtime tie with the Arizona Cardinals in both teams’ regular-season debut. It’s the first Lions tie since 1984 vs. Philadelphia.

Detroit went up 24-6 early in the fourth quarter on a 23-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford to rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson.

But Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray and the Cardinals clawed their way back with a field goal, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion from that point to the end of the game.

The Lions had a chance to close out the game when it appeared they’d converted a 3rd and 5 to a wide open J.D. McKissic in the flat with three minutes left in the game and the Cardinals with no timeouts. The play, however, was called dead after a timeout was called from the sideline. Detroit failed to convert the next play and that gave the ball back to the Cardinals.

View photos from the Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Week 1 game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona.

Murray drove down the field and threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald with 43 seconds left in the game to trim the Lions' lead to 24-22. Murray then hit wide receiver Christian Kirk on the two-point play to tie the game.

In overtime, the Cardinals won the toss and took the ball first. They got deep into Lions' territory, aided by a 45-yard completion from Murray to Fitzgerald, but Detroit’s defense held firm in the red zone and forced the Cardinals into a 28-yard field goal.

Detroit drove the field on their next possession but stalled at the Cardinals' 15-yard line. They had to settle for a 33-yard Matt Prater field goal.

Overtime turned into sudden death from that point.

Arizona punted from midfield on their second possession, but left Detroit just 59 seconds on the clock, starting the possession on the 5-yard line. The game ended before Detroit could even threaten to get out of their own territory.

Detroit got touchdowns from Hockenson, wide receiver Danny Amendola (47 yards) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (9) in the contest. Prater added two field goals (55, 33).

QB comparison: Stafford completed 27-of-45 passes for 385 yards and three scores. He also lost a fumble. He finished with a passer rating of 110.0. He also rushed three times for 22 yards.

Murray completed 29 of his 54 pass attempts for 308 yards with two touchdowns and an interception (Tracy Walker). He finished with a passer rating of 75.2.

Record-breaking debut: Hockenson had a terrific professional debut.

He set an NFL record for receiving yards (131) by a tight end in his first game.

The previous record was 123 yards set by Monty Stickles of the 49ers.

Hockenson finished with six catches for 131 yards and a 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

He is only the second player in franchise history to top 100 yards in his debut, joining wide receiver Earl McCullough, who had 132 yards in his debut at Dallas on Sept. 15, 1968.

Sack man: Linebacker Devon Kennard was second on the Lions' defense last year with 7.0 sacks. Let’s just say he’s off to a good start in his attempt to best that total in 2019.

Kennard was a one-man wrecking crew Sunday, recording three sacks on Murray in the first half for a loss of 19 yards.

He became the first linebacker in franchise history to notch 3.0 sacks in the first half of a game. The Lions finished with five sacks in the contest.

Up next: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)

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