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For the first time in 2014, the Lions didn't record a sack on Sunday, part of the reason they fell to the Cardinals, 14-6. The Lions rank 10th in the NFL with 26 sacks this season, and quarterback pressure has helped carry the defense to its No. 1 overall ranking.

Sunday, Arizona tried to counter the Lions' prowess up front by having quarterback Drew Stanton throw quickly.

"He got rid of that ball fast," linebacker Tahir Whitehead said.

"The ball was coming out hot, but as a defensive line, we always feel like we can do more to help this team win," defensive end Darryl Tapp said.

According to Pro Football Focus, Stanton held onto the ball for just 2.36 seconds on his 32 passes, the fourth-fastest release of any quarterback in Week 11. Stanton did attempt five passes 20-plus yards down the field, but completed just one of them, a 42-yard touchdown to Michael Floyd on the opening drive.

"The d-backs did a good job forcing him not to always throw to the first read, but either way, that ball was coming out hot," Tapp said. "It's just the nature of the beast."

The Lions did hit Stanton five times, but couldn't reach him before he threw the ball. Defensive end Jason Jones said the defense has to "keep working" to ensure they finish on pass plays, but Stanton deserves plenty of credit after finishing 21 of 32 for 306 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"He honestly won the game for them, between him throwing the ball and his defensive prowess making the tackle on both picks," Tapp said. "Had he not made the tackles, that would've been 6 both times."

Stanton tackled linebacker Josh Bynes after his first-quarter interception and forced cornerback Cassius Vaughn to the sideline on the pick in the second quarter, allowing running back Andre Ellington to make the tackle.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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