Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) catches the ball for a touchdown during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Going into the final quarter the Cardinals have been held scoreless, still down 10-0 and that is a good thing because they held the Buccs scoreless in the second half and well under 80 yards of total offense the entire second half.
The first Buccaneers drive of the fourth quarter ended with a quarterback to running back failed exchange resulting in a fumble by Doug Martin, the ball did not clearly get put in his stomach and usually that is on the quarterback, but the ball was covered by the Cardinals and the first sign of life to getting points in this game.
The Cardinals get the ball at mid field off the turnover, the Cardinals could have gotten more points out of this drive when it ended on a deep route to Andre Roberts, and he did not help his quarterback at all when he allowed the ball to go right threw both hands and the Cards had to settle for the Jay Feely field goal to get their first points of the game, and pull to a 10-3 score.
The defense was not letting up at all, in fact it seemed they got stronger as the fourth quarter went on, when they could have gotten frustrated with the offense and lose some fire, players that were in back up roles got the job done.
Doug Martin at this point averaged 1.3 yards per carry, and the defense forced a punt on a fourth and inches, and in desperation seeing that that Cardinals had the momentum, Coach Greg Schiano called a brilliant gutsy punt fake and Dashon Goldson caught the snap and ran for 22 yards for a first down.
A play like that usually can break a team mentally and fatigue becomes a factor, but the Cards defense upfront stiffened up and caused the Buccs to punt 3 plays later.
The Cardinals next drive was kept alive by pass interference against the Buccs secondary and put the Cards in good position to tie the game, but tight end Rob Housler was called for offensive pass interference down the sideline and that drive ended in a punt.
But that punt was pivotal to the win, because Dave Zastadil has been great this season in special teams and punted the ball very high, and it allowed specialist Justin Bethel to get under the punt and down it at the nine yard line.
Buccs needed two first downs and the game would have been over, with 4:04 left on the clock and still leading 10-3.
The defense steps up and stops the first down play when Jerod Powers got a shoe string tackle of Doug Martin for no gain, the second down play was an incomplete pass with Patrick Peterson covering Vincent Jackson, the coverage of Peterson forced Glennon to throw the ball high and out of bounds.
Third down Glennon tried to force a bullet pass to Vincent Jackson and one of the great up and coming corners Patrick Peterson, who has great ball skills, read the eyes of the rookie quarterback and ran the route that Jackson was running, but he ran it underneath and cut in front of the ball and picked it off, setting up the offense at the 13 yard line.
It only took one play, as Carson Palmer went back and threw a nice ball to Larry Fitzgerald matched up with Darrell Revis and this time Fitz wins the battle.
Looking at the play on tape I jumped out of my seat when I saw the route that Fitz ran on Revis, he had Revis for lunch on this route. Fitzgerald ran down and faked inside and quickly faked outside and even quicker back inside leaving Revis totally juked out of his shoes, and Palmer was dead on with the pass as Fitz caught the touchdown for the tying score, and all of a sudden we have a tied game at10 all, and Raymond James Stadium silent.
One other note about that touchdown to Fitzgerald was the great blocking of the offensive line, in particular back up Nate Potter who was covering for an injured Daryn Colledge after he went down with a leg injury. Potter got pressured up the middle from the Buccs enterier line and Potter held his ground and blocked for a good 3 seconds giving Palmer a clean pocket to deliver a perfect pass, but had Potter not got that block, that touchdown does not happen on that play. Come back for part 2 and the defensive finish to a Cardinal victory.