Mind games played tricks on Andy Isabella as a rookie. The athletic ability was there, but the confidence was not.
On Sunday, the speedy second-year receiver believed he would be a difference-maker, and then went out and did it.
Isabella had his finest game as a professional against the Lions, catching four passes for 47 yards and a pair of touchdowns in place of the injured Christian Kirk.
"My mind was one of the biggest things holding me back (last season)," Isabella said after the 26-23 loss. "I let a lot of people get in my mind. I worked so hard for this. There's no reason why I shouldn't go out there with an edge. I can play out there."
Isabella was a consistent presence throughout, catching a pair of passes early, including a beautiful 13-yard fade from Kyler Murray for the Cardinals' first touchdown. He scored another from four yards out late in the third to give the team a 23-20 lead.
Isabella now has six catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the past two games, the best numbers among any receiver on the team beyond DeAndre Hopkins.
"I told y'all what he's capable of," Murray said. "Glad to see him get his opportunity today."
Hopkins had his typical dominant day for the Cardinals, catching 10 passes for 137 yards. But the postgame focus was on the future Hall of Fame receiver that did not light up the stat sheet.
Larry Fitzgerald was targeted only three times and finished with one catch for zero yards. Coach Kliff Kingsbury was visibly miffed with himself for allowing that to happen.
"He's the heart and soul of this team," Kingsbury said. "When he's getting the football, good things happen. That's completely on me."
Fitzgerald is 37 years old, by far the oldest receiver in the NFL, but Kingsbury said his lack of involvement had nothing to do with a declining skillset.
"He had one of the best camps of anybody on the team," Kingsbury said. "He played great in the first two games, was getting open. I just did a poor job of getting him the ball."
Murray said he wasn't sure why Fitzgerald was targeted less than Hopkins, Isabella and KeeSean Johnson.
"Just kind of flow of the game type of deal," Murray said. "I hope to get him more balls next week."
PETERS PICKS UP ANOTHER SACK
Defensive tackle Corey Peters is known for his ability to stop the run, but he's done a nice job rushing the passer this season. He had a sack of Matthew Stafford on Sunday, increasing his total to two in the first three games.
Peters hasn't had more than three sacks in a season since 2013. He was also in the mix on an early sack that was given to Devon Kennard. Peters credited the scheming of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for some of his early-season success.
"I think we do a good job of disguising where we're trying to attack," Peters said.
BANJO LEAVES GAME WITH HAMSTRING INJURY
Safety Chris Banjo, who was already thrust into the starting lineup because Jalen Thompson is on injured reserve, left the game early on with a hamstring injury and didn't return.
That left the Cardinals with fourth- and fifth-string options Deionte Thompson and Curtis Riley to pair with Pro Bowler Budda Baker. Thompson had three tackles and Riley one, but Marvin Jones got away from Riley on a late catch to set up the game-winning field goal.
The safety depth will be tested even more as Kingsbury said safety Budda Baker will be having a surgery on his thumb "very soon." It is expected to keep him out for at least one game.
Images from the Week 3 matchup against Detroit