The Arizona Cardinals left Florida with a huge win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the Buccaneers starting a rookie quarterback in Mike Glennon, and a stretch of incredibly tough games including teams such as the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and Atlanta Falcons coming up they had to win this ball game. Going in to this upcoming stretch with a one and three record would have had most fans wondering if a top five pick was in the Cardinals’ future. While they won there is still so much the they need to work on, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Let’s start with the positives before we get into the negatives. The defense came up big all day, and are the main reason the Cardinals won the game. They stopped the run all day holding one of the better running backs in the league to 45 yards on 27 carries. In total they gave up 80 yards rushing, but 22 of those came on a fake punt run by Dashon Goldson. Patrick Peterson came up huge with two interceptions in the fourth quarter. The first set up the game tying touchdown and the second sealed the victory for Arizona. He truly is solidifying himself as a top corner in the game.
Rookies Tony Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu were around the ball all day finishing with six tackles each. Larry Fitzgerald wasn’t thrown to at all in the first half matched up against Darrelle Revis for most of the game, but he ended up with six receptions for 68 yards, and a touchdown. I might add that route ran by Fitzgerald on the touchdown was absolutely flawless, and made the best corner in the game look like a rookie. Michael Floyd keeps making strides just for some reason can’t find the end zone.
Carson Palmer once again threw two picks in a game, and both came on what looked to be successful drives. One of the interceptions was just an incredibly athletic play by Johnthan Banks who leaped up and brought the ball down with one hand in the end zone. The other was just Revis reading the play and breaking to the ball before Fitzgerald could get there. The offensive line only gave up one sack, but still had trouble making costly mistakes. Right tackle Eric Winston had two false starts and left tackle Levi Brown had one. The running game was non-existent, and was by far Rashard Mendenhall’s worst game yet running carelessly with the ball, fumbling three times. Only one was recovered by Tampa Bay, luckily.
Once again injuries plagued the Cardinals who can’t seem to catch a break. Linebacker Jasper Brinkley, and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett both left the game with groin injuries. Starting left guard Daryn Colledge also went down with a leg injury. After already losing Sam Acho and Lorenzo Alexander for the year lets hope these aren’t serious.
With Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers coming into town next week the Cardinals have a lot of work to do on the offensive side of the ball. Cardinals will play better at home behind the home crowd, and expect another physical game. Carolina’s defense is pretty darn good led by Luke Kuechly only giving up 36 points in three games. The Cardinals get a huge playmaker back in Daryl Washington, the pro bowl linebacker has finished his four-week suspension issued in the off-season for violating the substance abuse policy. Expect Peterson to be on Steve Smith all day, and for the defense to hold another team under 100 yards rushing.