3 big takeaways from the Cardinals' loss to the Lions

The Arizona Cardinals' 2017 season is already looking a lot like 2016.

After taking an early 10-0 lead, the Cardinals fell flat on the road against the Detroit Lions, falling 35-23 in Sunday's season opener. Here are three big takeaways from the loss.

1. David Johnson struggles, leaves game

Coming off a monster season in which he led the NFL with total yards from scrimmage, David Johnson had an all-around rough outing Sunday.

The third-year pro managed just 23 yards on 11 carries and fumbled twice. The second fumble was the play of the game, as it jump-started the Lions' rally (the Cardinals led 17-9 at the time) and caused Johnson to leave the game with a wrist injury.

The Cardinals' offense looked pretty awful even with Johnson in the backfield. Without D.J., things will only get worse. We'll have to wait and see whether Johnson will be available next week at Indianapolis.

2. Palmer doesn't get the job done

After a rough 2016 season, Cards quarterback Carson Palmer did not get off to an impressive start in 2017. He threw three interceptions (two of which were his fault) and missed on what should have been some easy throws.

Palmer's passer rating of 53.2 on Sunday was his second-worst since 2013, his first season in Arizona. It was just one game, but if the Cardinals get more of the same from the 37-year-old next weekend, it's probably going to be a long season.

3. Passing defense falls apart

Arizona's secondary did a fine job against Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the first half. This interception return for a touchdown by Justin Bethel gave the Cards an early 7-0 lead.

But Stafford picked apart the Cards' defensive backs in the second half, thanks in part to an ineffective pass rush that gave Stafford more time to throw. This fourth-quarter touchdown in which wide receiver Kenny Golladay sprinted past Bethel sealed Arizona's fate.

 

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