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Plummer, Cardinals Catch Lions


Jake Plummer never doubted he would bounce back. He just happened to do it on the day when Detroit rookie Charlie Batch finally had a disastrous day.

"I've been doing that since I started playing," Plummer said after leading the Arizona Cardinals to a 17-15 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. "It's a part of sports. If I didn't, I shouldn't be here."

Plummer threw two touchdown passes and Joe Nedney kicked a career-best 53-yard field goal for the Cardinals (4-4) in a mistake-filled game.

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  • "We're in control of our own destiny," Plummer said. "We're at .500 and we have five left at home."

    Batch, who was intercepted three times and lost one fumble in the first half, was benched for veteran Frank Reich to start the second half for the Lions (2-6).

    "I just have to be a man about it, and bounce back next week," Batch said.

    Plummer, benched in the fourth quarter when Arizona lost to the New York Giants in the Carinals' game before the bye, was 15-of-25 for 198 yards -- all but 44 in the second half -- with one interception.

    Reich helped Detroit take a 15-14 lead when he hooked up with Johnnie Morton for a 41-yard completion to the 1, setting up Tommy Vardell's 1-yard touchdown run with 9:29 left in the game. The Lions went for two, but Barry Sanders -- who carried 27 times for 107 yards -- fumbled the handoff from Reich.

    That mistake turned out to be important because Plummer was 4-of-5 in an eight-play, 39-yard drive to set up Nedney's winning field goal with 2:46 remaining.

    Reich ended the Lions' last hope for a comeback by losing a fumble in Detroit territory in the final two minutes.

    "We didn't come to play," Sanders said. "I don't know exactly what happened."

    But that was only the ugly ending to an ugly game that saw the teams combine for eight turnovers -- six by Detroit. It might have been worse, but only four of eight fumbles were lost.

    Cardinals/Lions
    Detroit held Arizona to only 37 net yards rushing but still lost 17-15. (AP)

    "It was a weird ball game in a lot of ways," Arizona coach Vince Tobin said. "The bottom line is we came back in the fourth quarter and found a way to win."

    Batch, who had thrown just three interceptions in his first five starts since Scott Mitchell was benched, was picked off on the second snap of the game by Tony McCombs, who returned it 14 yards to the Detroit 11.

    But on Arizona's third snap, Plummer tripped and fell while setting up to pass. He fumbled the ball going down, and Detroit recovered.

    It was a pattern that would continue the rest of the game. Tobin called it some of the worst football he had ever seen.

    "It was not a very good offensive football game the first half by either team," Tobin said. "It was ugly."

    Five snaps later, Batch was picked off again. He lost a fumble a few minutes later, and this time it looked like somebody might actually score. But Nedney's 53-yard field-goal attempt was blocked with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.

    A Detroit interception of Plummer early in the second quarter led to a 28-yard field goal by Jason Hanson.

    But moments later, Terry Fair fumbled a punt, and Arizona's Zack Walz recovered on the Lions 14. Three snaps later, Plummer found Frank Sanders all alone for a 16-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

    Hanson kicked a 42-yarder with 4:02 left in the second quarter, and it appeared the Lions might get close enough for another field goal try late in the period. But Batch threw his third interception with 51 seconds remaining and was through for the day.

    Hanson's 44-yarder gave the Lions a 9-7 lead with 10:08 left in the thirquarter. But Plummer, connecting on three straight passes for 76 yards, needed only four plays to drive the Cardinals 80 yards for a 14-9 lead, capping the drive with a 36-yard scoring toss to Rob Moore, who had five receptions for 107 yards.

    "It was a tight game and then we broke out of our slump with those big plays to Rob," Plummer said. "They were pressing him. He's so lethal that we have to use him. That's what we did."

    Notes

  • Plummer's touchdown pass to Moore was Arizona's longest scoring play of the season. Moore caught four passes for 94 yards in the second half, all against rookie cornerback Fair.
  • Herman Moore had two catches for 26 yards, extending his consecutive-game streak to 100 games. However, he failed to catch a touchdown pass for the seventh straight game. That is his longest streak since he didn't score in the first 15 games of his career.
  • Marc Spindler's blocked field goal in the first quarter was the fifth blocked kick of his career, and the second of the season.

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