“It’s a big. It’s a confidence-builder,” Porcher said after Detroit defeated Arizona 42-24 Sunday. “The last two years, we have how many wins? Five. Man, it feels great.”
Joey Harrington threw a career-high four touchdown passes in Steve Mariucci’s Detroit debut, spoiling Smith’s first game with his new team and Boldin’s record-setting day.
Boldin caught 10 passes for 217 yards, a record for a rookie in his debut, and two TDs. Boldin, a second-round pick from Florida State, broke the record set by Washington’s Hugh Taylor, who had 212 yards against Philadelphia in 1947.
“I would give those stats back for the win,” Boldin said.
Porcher said if he were Smith, he would’ve retired in Dallas after breaking Walter Payton’s NFL rushing record last year.
Smith may have thought the same thing after he gained just 4 yards on his first five carries without a blue star on his helmet. He is playing on a poor team after winning three Super Bowls, one MVP award and one Super Bowl MVP trophy in 13 seasons with the Cowboys.
Smith ran for 64 yards on 13 carries, extending his rushing record to 17,226.
“Our pride has been hurt and our ego has been shocked,” Smith said. “But we will bounce back from this.”
Two teams expected to be among the NFL’s worst played a close game for almost three quarters until the Lions scored three TDs—one on a punt return, another on an interception return—in about seven minutes.
Mariucci has returned to his home state following his firing in San Francisco, where he was 60-43 with three playoff wins over six seasons. Detroit was 5-27 under Marty Mornhinweg for the worst two-year mark in team history.
“This was a very emotional day for our players, for the coaches, for myself, and apparently, for our fans,” Mariucci said.
Harrington was 17-of-30 for 195 yards and no turnovers. The third pick in last year’s draft is the first Lions quarterback to throw four TDs since Scott Mitchell against Chicago in 1996.
Charles Rogers, the second selection overall this year, had four receptions for 38 yards and scores on his first two catches. On his second touchdown, he was fully extended on a 13-yard pass from Harrington to put the Lions ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter.
“They were starting to double him by the second quarter,” Harrington said. “He’s the kind of playmaker that opens things up, even when he isn’t catching the ball.”
“We did things that we didn’t do all preseason, starting with the turnovers,” Blake said. “I had two of those myself—one for a touchdown— and that’s unacceptable. I take all the blame for that.”
The Cardinals took a 21-14 lead on the first drive of the second half on Boldin’s 71-yard TD. Detroit’s Eddie Drummond returned a punt 57 yards to tie the game. The Lions went ahead on Harrington’s 8-yard pass to a wide-open Cory Schlesinger late in the third quarter.
Detroit’s No. 1 free-agent acquisition, cornerback Dre’ Bly, returned aninterception 48 yards to end the scoring early in the fourth.