GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Matt Leinart was admittedly awkward
taking a victory knee in the waning seconds against the Detroit
Lions on Sunday.
"I haven't taken one in a while," he explained.
It was the long-awaited first NFL win for the Heisman Trophy
The rookie from USC threw for 233 yards and a touchdown and ran
9 yards for another score in his first NFL victory, helping the Cardinals snap an
eight-game losing streak with a 17-10 victory over the Detroit
Lions on Sunday.
"It's kind of a big relief," he said.
In his first victory in six NFL starts, Leinart completed 19 of
29 passes with no interceptions. In the second and third quarters,
Leinart was 14-of-15 for 202 yards.
"This is the first time we've been excited after a game," he
said, "guys giving each other fives -- offense, defense. Really on
the sidelines we were there for each other. That's something we've
kind of lacked for whatever reason."
Edgerrin James gained 96 yards in 22 carries, his best day since
coming to the Cardinals this season.
"It's cool, you know," James said, "but you always want to go
The Lions (2-8), who lost running back Kevin Jones to a sprained
ankle late in the first quarter, made a comeback from a 17-0
A 15-yard facemask penalty on Chris Cooper's sack of Kitna
helped the drive. On the next play, Kitna threw 23 yards to Dan
Campbell to the Cardinals 3.
The Cardinals (2-8), though, chewed up the remaining time after
the kickoff, with James doing most of the damage and Marcel Shipp
gaining 3 yards for a crucial first down.
"That was big," wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "We've let
some leads go late into some games, and winning a game like this
can push you over the hump."
Kitna finished 23-for-38 for 233 yards and was intercepted once.
He was sacked three times, twice by Bertrand Berry, who left the
game with an elbow injury in the second half.
The Cardinals hadn't won since their season opener, their worst
start to a season since 1975.
"It's been a long time," said Dennis Green, who had watched
his team botch late shots at victory against St. Louis, Kansas City
and Chicago. "We've played decent in front of the home crowd. We
didn't play decent enough."
Until they faced the Lions, who fell to 0-5 on the road.
"That's very disappointing to me because I really hit it
extremely hard all week -- what it takes to win on the road," Lions
coach Rod Marinelli said. "It starts with defense. You've got to
have great defense on the road, and we came up short in that
The Lions threatened first when Casey FitzSimmons blocked Scott
Player's punt to give Detroit the ball at the Arizona 14. But three
plays later, Gerald Hayes tipped Kitna's pass and Aaron Francisco
The game remained scoreless until midway through the second
quarter, when Leinart -- on a flea-flicker, with James pitching the
ball back to the quarterback -- threw a 24-yard pass to Larry
Fitzgerald down the right sideline. Fitzgerald landed out of
bounds, but officials ruled he was forced out by Dre' Bly.
The drive went 88 yards in 11 plays, capped by Leinart's 2-yard
scoring pass to Bryant Johnson and Arizona led 7-0.
Neil Rackers' 38-yard field goal go gave the Cardinals a 10-0
Boldin caught a 44-yard pass from Leinart, despite a pass
interference penalty on Bly, to set up the rookie quarterback's
9-yard scramble that gave the Cardinals a 17-0 lead in the third
quarter. Boldin had five catches for 87 yards.
Detroit finally launched a drive, and a pass interference
penalty against David Macklin gave the Lions first down at the 1.
But the Lions lost 13 yards on the next three plays, the last six
on Berry's second sack of the game.
Kitna seemed to point the finger at offensive coordinator Mike
"You just can't do that," Kitna said. "I'm not sure what the
answer is. You'll have to ask coach Martz about that one."
Jason Hanson's 32-yard field made it 17-3.
"We stuck it out. We finished the game off, a close game,"
Leinart said. "Our defense played great. Really, the guys up
front, I thought it was the best we've done all year, and Edge ran
the best he's run.
Detroit lost three others to injuries -- defensive tackle
Shawn Cody (toe), wide receiver Eddie Drummond (concussion) and
wide receiver DeVale Ellis (shoulder). ... Berry said his elbow
problem was not serious. ... Leinart's current and USC teammate,
rookie starting guard Deuce Lutui, played after attending the birth
of his daughter at 9 a.m., five hours before kickoff.
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