(Reuters) - The Arizona Cardinals pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback with two clutch drives to edge the San Diego Chargers 18-17 on Monday.
In the night’s other contest, the Detroit Lions opened their new coaching era in emphatic fashion with a 35-14 victory over the New York Giants.
Trailing 17-6 in the final quarter, Carson Palmer led the home Cardinals 64 yards and tossed a five-yard touchdown to Stepfan Taylor.
Arizona were unable to convert their two-point conversion try, but delivered on their next possession when they traveled 91 yards and ended with a 13-yard toss to John Brown that put them one point ahead.
San Diego’s final drive ended at their own 40-yard line where Philip Rivers threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.
Palmer ended up with 304 yards passing. Arizona running back Andre Ellington, who was questionable before the game with a foot injury, rushed for 53 yards and had another 27 yards receiving.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who took over from the fired Jim Schwartz, was victorious in his debut thanks to a complete effort from his team in front of their home crowd.
Matthew Stafford threw for 346 yards and two touchdowns, both to wide receiver Calvin Johnson to establish a 14-0 lead that helped set up the victory.
“Number 81 (Calvin Johnson) is 81, and he’s going to make plays like that all year and we’re happy to have him,” Stafford told reporters.
“We played well. Our defense played great, we got the ball back a bunch of times. When we get that many chances good things happen for us.”
New York got a one-yard TD pass from Eli Manning that cut their deficit to 14-7 at halftime, but Detroit responded with 13 points in the third to create a 27-7 advantage.
Rashad Jennings added a short scoring run for the Giants in the fourth where the Lions capped the scoring on a three-yard touchdown rush from Joique Bell.
Johnson finished with 164 yards receiving for Detroit.
Manning completed just 18 of 33 passes and tossed two interceptions.
He led the NFL with 27 interceptions last season where the Giants lost their first six games.
”We had too many turnovers today,“ Manning said. We had opportunities to make plays, we just didn’t make them.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Sudipto Ganguly