It was a long time ago now, and granted, it didn't officially count. But everyone saw it, how the takeaways flowed like rain, 16 in the first three preseason games, a defense making every offense look vulnerable. While the pace couldn't ever keep up, the Cardinals still got 11 takeaways in the first six games this season, and 12 in seven. There were some at least.
Then it all stopped.
The Cardinals have only one takeaway – a fumble recovery in Los Angeles against the Chargers – the past five games. They haven't had an interception since one against Denver in Week 7 back on Oct. 18.
"It is very hard to believe," cornerback Patrick Peterson said.
There were some chances last week. The Cardinals thought they had a fumble recovery, but the officials ruled that forward progress had stopped (and therefore unable to be overturned on replay.) There was so much talk all week about how Josh Rosen's pass the play before his huge throw to Fitz should've been intercepted by former Cardinal Eddie Pleasant, but Cardinals cornerback David Amerson dropped an Aaron Rodgers throw right in his hands (and safety Antoine Bethea might've had a pick with a higher degree of difficulty earlier in the game.)
The Cardinals are a minus-9 in turnover ratio this season, and that's a big reason they are 3-9 in the standings. Getting some takeaways here and there certainly would figure to help a rookie quarterback in the quest to get another win or two.
-- Speaking of turnovers, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has had a couple at State Farm Stadium. The Stafford-led Lions are 0-3 on their visits to Arizona, He was good in 2013, throwing two TDs and no picks (the Cardinals still won), but in 2012 and 2014 Stafford threw four total interceptions with no TDs (and the Cardinals won both of those.) Last year, Stafford bounced back from throwing a pick-6 to Justin Bethel on his first pass to throw four TD passes. The Cards can't let him get started.
-- Stafford is also dealing with a back issue. He is expected to play, but a back problem can't be good for any football player. Trying to maneuver in the pocket and take a hit could make for an interesting day – especially since top running back Kerryon Johnson will not play.
-- The Cardinals were in the NFC East in the late 90s and very early 2000s and never in the Lions' division. Yet this will be the 16th meeting in 21 seasons between the two franchises, which is kind of amazing. (And if the Lions and Cardinals both finish in the same spot in their divisions this year, they will meet again at State Farm Stadium next season.)
-- We've already established that Josh Rosen running with the ball isn't ideal. But listening to Peterson break down last week's 33-yard lightning bolt was fun.
"It was pretty sloppy," Peterson said. "I told him he was tripping over those size 15 cleats that he has, those clown shoes smacking the turf each and every step. He almost tripped twice without anyone touching him. I'm like, 'C'mon man, you can't let the carpet monster eat you up.' We talked about the ball security as well, you always make sure you put that ball in the arm near the sideline.
"It was a little bit more athletic seeing it in person than it was on tape. It looks all bad on tape."
-- If you are coming to the game Sunday don't forget the Cardinals and United Phoenix Firefighters Charities are hosting a toy drive. Bring a new or gently-used toy to any entrance.
-- If you want to leave a question for Tuesday's mailbag, you can click here.
-- I once thought Fitz might break Jerry Rice's record for most catches with one franchise the last time the Cardinals played at home. I figured with two games after that, the record would come on the road for sure. But no, Fitzgerald – master of timing? Yeah, we'll go with that – will break Rice's mark with his first catch Sunday. It'll be the 1,282nd reception of his illustrious career.
(For those confused by this record, Rice has many, many more catches, but the first 1,281 came as a 49er. Tony Gonzalez, also ahead of Fitz on the all-time catches list, split his between the Chiefs and Falcons.)
-- Between the new-look offensive line and the Christian Kirk-less receiving corps, how this offense makes things work the rest of the season is something to watch -- and a major testing ground for offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.
-- The roof, not surprisingly, is supposed to be open Sunday at State Farm Stadium.
See you then.
UPDATE: Wide receiver Chad Williams was added to the injury report Saturday with a hamstring issue. He is questionable, and the thin receiving corps could get thinner.