Winning on the road in the National Football League is tough. The Arizona Cardinals learned that Sunday afternoon after eeking out an ugly 13-10 victory over the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Through 3 quarters, Arizona looked extremely woeful on offense, failing to put a single point on the scoreboard. The Cards scored all 13 of their points in the fourth and last quarter of Sunday’s game.
Carson Palmer threw for 248 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions in the game. At times, he looked worse than the carousel of quarterbacks the Cardinals used last year. In fact, if it wasn’t for CB Patrick Peterson‘s two interceptions in the 4th quarter, rookie QB Mike Glennon and the Buccaneers just might have earned their first victory of the season. However, all of that is irrelevant. The poor offensive showing through 3 quarters and the fact that a rookie QB nearly beat the Cardinals does not matter. All that matters is that the Arizona Cardinals regained their winning ways and are back to .500 on the season.
There were a few things to take away from Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay. The first issue that stood out to me was the way the RB’s were used on offense. Running backs in the NFL today are not as dangerous as they once were. With the plethora of rules protecting the QB and favoring the offense, teams are increasingly utilizing the pass game and not running the ball as often. During the game versus the Buccaneers, Arizona threw the ball to the RB many times, only to find that the defense read it to perfection. In fact, Andre Ellington led Arizona in rushing with 29 yards, 25 of them coming on one run. With big receiving targets such as Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd on offense, I would prefer to see less dumps to the running back and more shots down field.
The next thing that stood out to me was the outstanding play of Patrick Peterson. Is there anything this guy can’t do? Peterson is the definition of a football player. We’ve seen him on offense, defense, and special teams this season. The great news for Arizona is that Peterson still has plenty of room to grow as a player. If it wasn’t for his two picks in the 4th quarter, the Cardinals would be sharing a spot with the St. Louis Rams in the cellar of the tough NFC West. Many “experts” have already deemed him as the best player at his position. He certainly gave Mike Glennon a not-so-warm welcome to the NFL after intercepting two of his passes in the fourth quarter.
As is the case with every football game, Arizona made enough plays to win the game. And the fact that they came away with a victory is all that matters. Winning a football game away from home is always positive. The Arizona Cardinals faced plenty of adversity versus Tampa Bay and although it wasn’t pretty or easy, they found a way to grind out a victory. They now sit at 2-2 and will come back home to play the Carolina Panthers at home next Sunday.