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After first week, Lions like their defense

(TSX / STATS) -- ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- One game hardly makes for conclusive evidence, but the Detroit Lions might actually have a competent defense.

The Lions, one of the worst teams in the NFL at forcing turnovers last season, had an opportunistic four takeaways in Sunday's season-opening 35-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Safeties Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson and Miles Killebrew intercepted passes, with Killebrew returning his 35 yards for a touchdown, and defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson forced a fumble that rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis recovered.

Last year, the Lions had 14 takeaways all season and set a modern NFL record for highest completion percentage against.

"When you hustle to the ball, when you do what you're supposed to do, when you execute, you make plays like that," Quin said. "I mean, I try to preach to the guys all the time, interceptions don't come from doing something spectacular. Nine times out of 10 if you just do your job and be in the spot that you're supposed to be in and hustle, interceptions will come to you."

All three of the Lions' interceptions Sunday came on overthrows by haggard-looking Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. But the Lions, in a change from last season, got regular pressure from their defensive line and held David Johnson, one of the best all-purpose backs in the NFL, in check all game.

The Cardinals, who lost Johnson to a wrist injury in the third quarter, finished with just 45 net yards rushing and couldn't capitalize on several early miscues by the Lions on offense and special teams.

"Typically, in a game like that, you end up being (down) 21-0 or 28-0, very easily," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said. "And what our defense did, the way they hung in there, they did not flinch. They did a great job I think of holding them, making them work for every inch. It was an impressive first half."

--Kenny Golladay had a debut to remember for the Lions.

Golladay, the team's third-round pick, played ahead of TJ Jones as the Lions' No. 3 receiver and caught four passes for 69 yards with two touchdowns. Both of Golladay's scores came in the fourth quarter, and his second touchdown, a diving 45-yard grab in which he beat Justin Bethel, clinched the victory.

"Did he do everything right today? No," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "But did he make some big-time catches? Absolutely. On the first touchdown, it was a check at the line of scrimmage and sometimes, that's a rookie out there, you don't know if he's going to get it, and he got it and made the catch. And then the second one, what a great catch."

Golden Tate (10 catches on 12 targets) was the only receiver targeted more by Stafford on Sunday.

--Well-traveled punter Kasey Redfern suffered a severe knee injury in his first NFL game Sunday, tearing both his ACL and MCL as he tried to pick up a first down after dropping a snap in his own end zone.

Redfern's injury caused a ripple effect on the Lions' special teams. Kicker Matt Prater handled punting duties for the final three quarters - the first time he's ever punted in the NFL - and backup quarterback Jake Rudock took over as holder.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions worked out five punters on Monday and are expected to sign former Minnesota Vikings punter Jeff Locke as Redfern's replacement.

Sam Martin, who was taken 10 spots after Locke in the 2013 draft, is on the non-football injury list because of a summer foot injury. He'll miss at least the next five games.

Updated September 12, 2017

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