By Ashley Scoby
The Cardinals didn’t just demolish the Lions Sunday in their 42-17 beatdown. They toyed with them.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Fighting for Inclusion, Detroit's Place in Civil Rights History
And perhaps no one did so more than Arizona’s defensive backs: Rashad Johnson and Patrick Peterson picked off Stafford once each, and Johnson added another interception off backup Dan Orlovsky.
To add insult to injury – or to add sneer to the blowout – Lions fans booed the team all day, and safety Tyrann Mathieu waved at the crowd animatedly to egg them on.
“It was fun, you know,” Mathieu said. “I didn’t know what the Detroit fans expected. Maybe they expected us not to show up today, but I thought our team effort was good. Like I said, our defensive back group and even Cory Redding, anytime you get turnovers, it’ll be hard for that team to win.”
And at least part of Arizona’s defensive back group had a little history with Stafford. Johnson, who played at Alabama, had experience picking off the former Georgia quarterback.READ MORE: Karen Carter, and Others Metro Detroiters Chipped In To Help Salvation Army’s Bed and Bread Radiothon
“We have a bunch of SEC guys in our defensive back room,” Mathieu said. “Actually Rashad picked him off every time he played him in college, kind of kept the tradition going today. It was a good feeling; it was a good win for us. … It’s like déjà vu, man.”
Johnson actually batted .500 against Stafford in college. In 2007 – when Johnson was a junior and Stafford a sophomore – Johnson picked him off and returned it 26 yards. Stafford’s No. 22-ranked Georgia team, though, overcame the turnovers that day (Stafford had two picks) and beat No. 16 Alabama in overtime.
The next year, in 2008, Johnson’s eighth-ranked Alabama team beat Stafford’s third-ranked Bulldogs, 41-30. And although Johnson didn’t actually tally an interception, he did record two pass breakups that day.
With that history in mind, Johnson terrorized Stafford’s team on Sunday, finishing with five tackles and two interceptions.
The Lions finished with six turnovers, a season-high for the 0-5 team.MORE NEWS: Granholm Confirmed By Senate To Be Next Energy Secretary
“It was a good thing those guys didn’t find their rhythm against us today,” Mathieu said. “I thought we started fast. I thought we just played the entire game and obviously anytime you get the several turnovers in a football game, it’ll be hard for that team to win.”