Glendale, AZ – Rashard Mendenhall's touchdown run late in the game lifted the Arizona Cardinals to a 25-21 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Mendenhall finished with 66 yards on 15 carries, while Carson Palmer was 22- for-39 with 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Cardinals (1-1), who bounced back from last week's 27-24 loss in St. Louis.
Matthew Stafford was 24-for-36 for 278 yards and two scores, both to Calvin Johnson. Johnson finished the game with six catches for 116 yards for the Lions (1-1), who opened their season with a 34-24 victory at home against Minnesota.
"We didn't execute as well as we needed to in the second half," Stafford said.
The game-winning drive began at the Arizona 39 with 4:28 to play and the first snap saw Andre Ellington run it around the right end for 16 yards. Two plays later, Michael Floyd caught a pass for 11 yards. Facing 3rd-and-8, Palmer went deep for Andre Roberts and got a pass interference call to set up a 1st-and- goal at the 1-yard line.
Two plays after that, Mendenhall stretched it over the line and, after the 2- point conversion failed, it was 25-21 with 1:59 to play.
Detroit failed on a 4th-and-4 and Arizona killed off the rest of the clock for the win.
Stafford fumbled a handoff to Reggie Bush early in the third quarter and Arizona recovered at the Detroit 7. However, the team was unable to move the ball and a 23-yard field goal from Jay Feely cut the deficit to 14-13 just 4 1/2 minutes in.
Following a Detroit punt, Arizona was driving and got the ball into Detroit territory, buy Deandre Levy stepped in front of a Palmer pass and went the other way for a 66-yard score and a 21-13 lead with 7:04 left in the third quarter.
The Cardinals answered on their next touch with a 7-play, 55-yard drive that saw Feely hit a 43-yard field goal to make it a 21-16 game with 4:13 left in the third.
With a drive that spanned the third and fourth quarter, the Cardinals cut their deficit to two points on Feely's fourth field goal of the game, this one from 33 yards out.
David Akers had a 47-yard field goal attempt blocked on Detroit's ensuing possession.
After exchanging punts to start the game, Detroit had a chance to get on the board when Akers lined up for a 52-yard field goal that me missed to the left. A running-into-the-kicker call gave him another shot from five yards closer, but he missed that one to the right.
In the second quarter, Arizona started a drive near midfield and was able to get a 47-yard field goal from Feely for a 3-0 lead with 11:44 to play in the second quarter.
Detroit came right back with a quick score as the third play saw Stafford hit Johnson with a quick pass to the left and he raced through the middle, then down the right sideline for a 72-yard score and a 7-3 lead.
Arizona came right back with a six-play drive that covered 80 yards in just under three minutes as Palmer went deep and found Ellington for a 36-yard score and a 10-7 lead with 7:32 to play in the half.
"It was a perfect call," Ellington said of his touchdown. "We kind of snuck one on them."
Starting at their own 8-yard line, Stafford converted a third down with a pass to Bush that he took for 26 yards. A 20-yard run from Joique Bell followed by a pair of penalties to Arizona saw Detroit have a first down at the Arizona 15. Following a 12-yard catch from Nate Burleson, Stafford tossed a score to Johnson for a 3-yard score and a 14-10 lead with 1:55 left in the half.
Palmer moved over 30,000 yards passing in the game and is the seventh active quarterback to reach that mark ... Bush only played the first series in the second half due to a knee injury. He sat on the sidelines for the rest of the game ... Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who had two catches for 33 yards, left the game after tweaking a hamstring injury that had him listed as questionable for the game ... Arizona has won five straight against Detroit ... Detroit plays in Washington next Sunday ... Arizona plays in New Orleans next week.