He obviously needs to omit certain mistakes like the pass interception and return for touchdown, which DeAndre Levy pulled off against him for the Lions on Sunday. But Palmer took his team down the field for the winning touchdown when heavy pressure was on and he had a decent day, 22-of-39 for 242 yards.
Palmer is a master at the game-winning drive. Going into this game, he had 20 of those in his career including a fourth-quarter comeback. The Lions made a bad mistake by letting the Cardinals hang around too long and stay in the game. No one told the Lions defense, apparently, that Palmer was now the Cardinal quarterback.
It can’t really be said that Palmer outplayed Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford. He did not. Stafford was a wee bit better on passing and couldn’t use one of his best weapons in Reggie Bush after the Lions running back injured his knee and didn’t play much in the second half.
While the Lions are hoping that Stafford blossoms into a Pro Bowl type of quarterback, Palmer already has achieved that status in his previous stint with the Cincinnati Bengals. But when the Cards got him from Oakland Raiders during the offseason, it was with the idea Palmer could take them to the playoffs. He’s not a kid anymore and is trying to show his maturity by leading the Cardinals to a winning season.
While throwing interceptions for touchdowns is inexcusable, driving a team for the winning score can erase that memory in a hurry.
Palmer can win some games for the Cardinals, but Arizona fans must temper their enthusiasm and remember that beating the Lions at home doesn’t make a team Super Bowl material by itself. But if Palmer can continue to play with the maturity and poise that he did Sunday, it could be a good season for the Cardinals.