Cardinals 12

(4-8, 1-6 away)

Lions 26

(5-7, 2-4 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 5, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
ARI 3 9 0 012
DET 7 7 6 626

Thanks to Jones, Lions snap 5-game skid

DETROIT (AP) -- Kevin Jones refused to even crack a smile when told he accomplished something Barry Sanders didn't as a Detroit Lions rookie.

The running back insists his goals are loftier.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Cardinals at Lions: Have the Lions finally found their answer at running back with Kevin Jones?

Jones can be what the Lions envisioned when they traded up to get him. He can carry the ball 20-25 times per game and still be effective and explosive in the fourth quarter. Also, he gives the Lions another dimension when they are able to line WRs Charles Rogers and Roy Williams up on the same field with him. All of a sudden the Lions will have the explosive threats that have been lacking in Detroit since the retirement of Barry Sanders.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

Jones ran for 196 yards and a touchdown to lead Detroit over the Arizona Cardinals 26-12 Sunday, ending the Lions' five-game losing streak and keeping their playoff hopes alive in the muddled and mediocre NFC.

"We needed this real bad," Jones said. "If we lost, we had no chance for the playoffs."

Jones fell 1 yard short of Mel Farr's rookie rushing record for the Lions -- set in 1967 -- but surpassed Sanders' best day as a rookie in 1989 by 12 yards.

"I'm just trying to get 1,000 yards and get us in the playoffs," said Jones, who has 703 yards rushing this season.

Jason Hanson was 4-for-4 on field goals and Dre' Bly had two interceptions for the Lions (5-7), who took command of the game in the third quarter and coasted in the fourth.

Arizona (4-8) lost its third straight with its third quarterback in four weeks. Rookie John Navarre, who hadn't taken a snap in the regular season, threw four interceptions and was 18-of-40 for 168 yards with a TD.

Navarre, who jammed the ring finger on his throwing hand on Arizona's second series, said he tried to force plays that weren't there.

"I've got to learn from it, take this film, study it and correct my mistakes and not repeat them," said Navarre, the seventh former Michigan quarterback to start an NFL game over the past two decades.

With a blend of speed, power and crafty moves, Jones gave Detroit something it has been searching for since Sanders abruptly retired five years ago. The Lions traded up into the first round to draft the former Virginia Tech star 30th overall.

Since Detroit decided to get Jones the ball more -- after having him share carries with two others -- he has provided a desperately needed running threat. In the last four games, Jones has 476 yards rushing on 76 carries after getting no more than 15 carries or 65 yards in any of the first eight games.

"He's showing why we drafted him and moved up to get him," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said.

Jones, who had a season-high 26 carries, put together Detroit's best game on the ground since Sanders' 216-yard rushing game in 1997. His highlight against Arizona was a 74-yard run, a record for a Detroit rookie and the team's longest since Sanders had an 80-yard run in 1997.

"They are giving me the ball, and I'm getting better," Jones said. "It builds up my confidence that the coaches feel I can get the job done and keep feeding me the ball."

A rookie also started at running back for the Cardinals.

Larry Croom played for Emmitt Smith, who was out with a toe injury after starting every other game this season. Croom ran for 49 yards on 18 carries.

"If you don't stop the run, you have a hard time winning," Arizona coach Dennis Green said. "If you can't run the ball yourself, you have a hard time winning."

Green chose to play Navarre instead of healthy quarterbacks Josh McCown and Shaun King and despite his rough outing, he's sticking with him.

"I imagine John will start next week against San Francisco," Green said.

Navarre helped the Cardinals take a 3-0 lead on their first possession, but they lost the lead late in the first quarter for good and Navarre was unable to avoid mistakes.

Detroit's Joey Harrington was 15-of-27 for 196 yards with one TD and one interception and Roy Williams caught four passes for 76 yards.

Jones gave the Lions a 14-6 lead midway through the second quarter on a 2-yard run, two plays after they might have turned the ball over.

Green wanted to review Williams' 45-yard catch because it appeared that he fumbled before his knee was down, but the officials told Green he couldn't challenge it because the play was ruled down by contact.

"We got a break there I thought," Mariucci said.

Game notes

Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, said it was too early to say whether he would play against the 49ers. ... The Lions are 15-2 when Hanson makes at least four field goals. ... Detroit's Tai Streets caught his first TD pass of the season. ... The six previous Michigan QBs to start in the NFL over the last two decades are: Drew Henson, Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Todd Collins, Elvis Grbac and Jim Harbaugh.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

detFG3:30Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 7 yds, 1:30
ariFG11:30Neil Rackers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 20 yds, 2:30
detTD8:30Kevin Jones, 2 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 76 yds, 2:30
Drive info: 5 plays, 76 yds, 2:30
detFG5:23Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 12 yds, 2:37
ariFG14:30Neil Rackers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 23 yds, 3:19
detFG8:00Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 38 yds, 3:30
Drive info: 9 plays, 76 yds, 5:25
detFG10:30Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 67 yds, 4:30
Drive info: 9 plays, 76 yds, 5:25
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 4:13