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Fumble recovery sweetens Jarrad Davis' NFL debut

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit — Lions rookie Jarrad Davis walked out of Ford Field on Sunday afternoon with a ball tucked under his arm.

Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham can't pull down a reception in the end zone with Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis, left, and safety Glover Quin defending in the second quarter.

It was as much a reminder of his first NFL game as it was his best play of the game, a fumble recovery in the third quarter after A’Shawn Robinson hit Cardinals running back David Johnson. Davis scooped up the loose ball and returned it 21 yards, to the Cardinals’ 10, setting up the Lions for a score two plays later.

The fumble was one of four turnovers for the Cardinals, including three interceptions by Carson Palmer, a credit to the Lions’ defense.

“That was just an effort play. They say if you run to the ball, good things happen. I tried to take it (for a touchdown), but got tripped up,” Davis said. “We always work on getting turnovers. Today, it showed up and paid off.”

Davis led the Lions with nine tackles and got a good taste of NFL speed in his linebacker spot. While the offense took a little longer to get on track, the defense was good from almost start to finish.

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“We really have to come out and get started fast,” Davis said. “The game got going and I was getting lost out there a couple times, but I really locked in and started to find my groove and make plays.

“I’m really excited to have an opportunity to come back and do it again next week.”

Pick city

The Lions defense feasted on Carson Palmer’s three interceptions, but reserve safety Miles Killebrew may have had the most memorable. Killebrew, a fourth-round pick last year, collected his second career interception, and notched his first score, returning it 35 yards for a touchdown, pushing the lead to 35-17 in the fourth quarter.

“My eyes were open and I was excited,” Killebrew said. “I can barely remember what happened.”

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Killebrew also made a big play in the first quarter, when the Cardinals had a chance to push their lead to 14-0 in the first nine minutes. On third-and-goal from the Lions’ 2-yard line, Palmer hit Jermaine Gresham on a short pass, but Killebrew made the tackle, for a 4-yard loss. The Cardinals settled for a 24-yard field goal and the Lions’ offense perked up in the second quarter.

Turnovers were one of the biggest keys to the game, punctuated by Killebrew’s pick-six.

“That was one of our goals: get around the ball more often this year when can,” Killebrew said. “We just trusted our coaches’ game plan and just practiced all week for what we were going to do today.”


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard