Trending report: It's going to be tough for the Arizona Cardinals to watch this film

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  • Kyler Murray
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Kliff Kingsbury
    Kliff Kingsbury
    American football coach
  • James Conner
    James Conner
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DETROIT — It’s going to be tough for the Arizona Cardinals to watch the film after the 30-12 loss to the Detroit Lions. It was tough on fans, too. Especially, if they came in expecting a blockbuster performance and got this flop.

Trending down:

Opening weekend: The Cardinals were trailing 17-0 to the Lions at halftime, which was stunning because Detroit has been a horrible first-half team this season. The Lions have been shutout in the first half five times. They haven’t held any opponents scoreless in the first half. They’ve gone into the locker room trailing 10 times. And the Lions have been outscored in the first half 154-96. (Have we mentioned that at 1-11-1, the Lions had been eliminated from playoff contention and have nothing to play for?)

“This is an unacceptable loss to us,” linebacker Jordan Hicks said. “We weren’t ourselves today. Whatever that was, we’ve got to get fixed.”

Sticking to the script: Offensive coaches are known to go into games with a plan, typically called a script. Kliff Kingsbury either had the right script or the wrong movie. Arizona’s first drive went nowhere. Literally. There were three plays and a penalty that netted 0 yards. The next drive featured an incomplete pass and an 8-yard sack.

“That wasn’t what we’ve been all year,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We’ve got to figure that out.”

Turning off ‘Netflix’: Detroit running back Craig Reynolds, called “Netflix” because he was presumably on the couch binge-watching the streaming service when the Lions called and offered him a roster spot, ran the ball like he was ready for his close up. Reynolds gained 112 yards on 26 carries.

Fred Astaire: Arizona wide receiver Antoine Wesley had the chance to show the kind of footwork that would impress Gregory Hines, Savion Glover — and yes, Fred Astaire — on a deep pass on fourth-and-6 in the fourth quarter with the Cardinals trailing 27-6. But try as he might, Wesley couldn’t tap his toes inbounds.

Hollywood endings: Kyler Murray had the chance to engineer the type of comeback win that gives quarterbacks a chance to say “I Am Legend,” like Will Smith. Murray was on the road, trailing by 21 points in the fourth quarter. The circumstances set up a chance for him to show the skills that have made him one of the most dynamic players in the league. It wasn’t to be, however. Coach Kliff Kingsbury pulled his star from the game with a little less than 3 minutes to go.

Holding steady:

The Terminator: Arizona running back James Conner has been called “The Terminator” because the main character of the action movie franchise is John Connor, and, hey, close enough, amirite? Anyway, James Conner, the running back, not the guy that Arnold Schwarzenegger went back in time to kill … and then save … and then, look, it got complicated, OK? Anyway, Conner had 39 yards on eight carries, an average of nearly 5 yards every time he was handed the ball.

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Paul Newman: Newman once starred in a Western called “Hud.” The Cardinals are a Western team that relies on a player named “Hud” — center Rodney Hudson, who was out after being exposed to COVID-19. The offensive line suffered without their leading man. There were false starts, bad snaps and a general lack of protection that contributed to Kyler Murray completing just 56 percent of his passes. There were a lot of all-out blitzes, coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I thought they played a fearless game and had a great plan.”

Hollywood stars: Lions quarterback Jared Goff spent the first five years of his career playing for the LA Rams. Amon-Ra St. Brown grew up in Southern California and played at USC. Goff threw three touchdowns and completed 81 percent of his passes. St. Brown had eight catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Extras: No one goes to a big-budget movie to watch the extras, just like no one goes to an NFL football game to watch the referees. That didn’t stop the Men in Black (and White) from calling seven penalties for 83 yards against the Cardinals. That included three roughing the passer penalties against the Arizona defensive line.

Reboot: Chase Edmonds played for the first time in more than a month after spraining his ankle against San Francisco. He gained 53 yards on just six carries. That’s nearly 9 yards per carry.

Reach Moore at gmoore@azcentral.com or 602-444-2236. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @SayingMoore.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Trending report: Cardinals needed blockbuster, produced flop at Lions

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