After all that drama, Kyler Murray’s debut ended in a tie that almost seemed like a win.
Murray and the Arizona Cardinals nearly finished an improbable comeback on Sunday in the rookie’s debut, rallying from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 24 in regulation.
In the season opener, former University of Hawaii linebacker, Lions second-round draft pick Jahlani Tavai recorded his first sack, taking down Murray in the third quarter.
The Cardinals had two chances to win in extra time and so did the Lions, but all they could do was trade field goals and settle for a 27-27 tie.
It was a strange ending to a thrilling game.
Arizona’s new-look offense under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury was a dud for most of the afternoon before inexplicably coming alive in the fourth quarter. Murray hit David Johnson for a 27-yard touchdown to pull the Cardinals within 24-16 with less than six minutes remaining.
After the defense stopped the Lions, the top overall draft pick was at it again, leading a nine-play, 60-yard drive to a 4-yard touchdown throw to Larry Fitzgerald. Murray found Christian Kirk on the 2-point conversion to tie it with 43 seconds remaining.
Murray was 15 of 19 for 154 yards and two touchdowns during the fourth-quarter comeback. Overall, he was 29 of 54 or 308 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
It was a stunning collapse for Detroit, which looked totally in control until midway through the fourth period. The Lions took a 17-0 lead during the second quarter and had a 17-3 advantage at halftime.
Matthew Stafford threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions, but they couldn’t put together drives in the fourth quarter to stop Arizona’s momentum.
Larry Fitzgerald, in his 16th NFL season, finished with eight catches for 113 yards.
It’s the second straight year a game ended in a tie in the first week after the Browns and Steelers did the same thing last year.
NICE GAME ROOKIE
Detroit’s T.J. Hockenson looks like he’s ready to make an immediate impact in his rookie season. The 6-foot-5, 247-pound tight end, the No. 8 overall pick in April, was a problem for the Arizona secondary, creating mismatches all over the field. He finished with six catches for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Chandler Jones had Arizona’s biggest play of the first quarter when he sacked Stafford, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble. Jones has 42 sacks in 49 career games with the Cardinals, including at least one sack in all four season openers since joining the franchise in 2016.
Lions: plays its home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, who also won in OT on Sunday.
Cardinals: goes on the road to face QB Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, who looked very good in Week 1 in a lopsided win over Miami.