(WXYZ) — Turnovers matter any way you can get them.
The Lions defense intercepted Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray three times in a 26-23 win on the road. The victory snapped the Lions 11-game losing streak and also gives the beleaguered defense a big jot of confidence. Detroit (1-2) entered the game without an interception in two losses this season.
“Let’s give the credit to the players for the great plays,” said coach Matt Patricia.
Lions safety Duron Harmon intercepted Murray on the Cardinals first drive of the game. In the second quarter, linebacker Jamie Collins stepped in front of a Murray pass for the second and perhaps most costly turnover of the three. Six plays later, Matthew Stafford hit tight end Jesse James for a five-yard TD. The score gave the Lions a 10-7 lead.
Lions rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah made the last interception of the game and the first of his NFL career. In the middle of the third quarter, the Lions defense forced Murray to run out of the pocket. Running to his right, he threw a pass behind receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Okudah dove and caught the ball for the turnover. He returned the ball down to the Cardinals 22-yard line. The Lions had to settle for a field goal but did retake the lead at 20-16.
Stafford, who did not throw an interception for the first time in a game this season, said the help by the defense was appreciated.
“We really should have scored more points than we did,” Stafford said after the game. “Getting three turnovers, can’t say enough.”
The Lions forced three interceptions for the first time since 2017. It was the first time they had multiple interceptions in a game since 2017, as well.
Murray has found a bit of struggle with turnovers this season, throwing an interception in two previous games. Patricia wouldn’t disclose the team’s game plan for stopping Murray but said he was pleased with the defense’s preparation.
“They did a great job studying for this game this week,” he said. “They may have saw a couple of things (on film) for this game.”
The Lions almost had fourth interception late in the game. Harmon dropped a Murray pass in the fourth quarter.
“Duron came up to me after the game and this is why you love him,” said Patricia. “He says ‘I owe you one. That’s my fault.’ I was like we won the game, I don’t care.”