It might be considered the biggest upset of the 2021 NFL season. The Detroit Lions came into Sunday’s (Dec. 19) game against the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals as double-digit underdogs, and they walked away with a double-digit victory, 30-12.
The Lions broke all kinds of wacky records with the win. They’re the third team since 1970 to have the league’s worst record, with a minimum of eight games played, and defeat a team with the top record in the NFL in a minimum of eight games, according to NFL Research.
It wasn’t close, either. The Lions dominated the entire game, from scoring early points on the board to closing out the game with a comfortable lead.
With a 2-11-1 record, the Lions are no longer the team with the NFL’s worst record. Now, that honor, if you can call it, goes to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 2-12 following a Sunday loss to the Houston Texans. That means the Jags are likely to have the No. 1 pick in next April’s draft, to boot.
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was obviously not very happy about the loss. “That’s not who we want to be or what we want to be,” he said in an interview with Pro Football Talk. “But I’ve got to tip my hat to Detroit. I thought they had a tremendous plan. They outcoached us and outplayed us. We got to be better.”
Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell, of course, is riding high on the big win.
“Hey man. Welcome to Detroit,” Campbell said in a celebratory video posted on the Lions’ social media accounts. “Welcome to Detroit. Hey, I tell you what, we did everything we said we needed to do to that team. We did everything. I tell you what, defense, you took it personal. Each three-and-out man, and you guys are making them have to punt. We turn the ball over offensively, right? And then we defensively — Amani, two-four, get a turnover.”
Campbell added, “We came after them early. We said we were going to be aggressive. We took some shots and we made ’em. We made our shots early, and then we just started hammering. Hell, our first drive was eight minutes, man. You guys are a tough, gritty group. You are a tough gritty group. You always have been. And now you’re seeing it pay dividends. Look, a team gets one out, two out — we got multiple guys out. And multiple guys stepped up and that’s what we’re capable of.”