MOST IMPRESSIVEDT Gerald McCoy
McCoy was the most dominant player on the field Sunday for either team, both offensively and defensively. McCoy set the tone with a sack on the game’s very first play. And while McCoy didn’t record another sack on the afternoon he was constantly putting pressure on Carson Palmer. McCoy also recovered a first quarter fumble, setting up Tampa Bay’s only touchdown on the afternoon. At his current pace McCoy will be eating the pineapple in Honolulu once again when the season is over.
And on a side note, displaying what makes him a locker room leader, after the game when the players were sitting in their lockers after the tough loss, McCoy heard some of the defensive players grumbling about things and immediately told them to shut up. McCoy said to the players that they don’t need to complain around reporters who can hear and record them. And while that would have been good for the media, from a team standpoint, McCoy did exactly what a leader of a team on the verge of possibly splintering should do – telling his guys to keep it amongst the players.CB Darrelle Revis
During halftime I leaned over to Scott Reynolds in the press box and said Revis may end up in the Pro Bowl with recording a single interception. And while that would have been highly unlikely, my point was, Revis was having a tremendous impact on the defense with his just his presence on the field alone. Four weeks in row teams have rarely challenged the former Jets All-Pro. And for a majority of the game that was the case, but in the third quarter Palmer, trying to get wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald more involved, make a mistake and threw at Revis. The sideline out pattern throw wasn’t on target and Revis broke underneath the route to snag his first pick as Buccaneer. Earlier in the game Revis also forced a fumble, another first as a Buccaneers.
But late in the fourth quarter, with the Cardinals trying to tie the game after quarterback Mike Glennon’s interception, Fitzgerald got the best of Revis who was playing man coverage. Fitzgerald faked a corner route or fade then broke back inside on a quick post for an easy TD reception. Revis tied for the team lead with six tackles and the interception to go along with a forced fumble.CB Johnthan Banks
After not having his best game a week ago at New England, rookie Johnthan Banks bounced back on Sunday and made an incredible acrobatic third quarter interception in the end zone with the Cardinals driving. The Buccaneers affinity for long lanky cornerbacks was validated with that pick, and while not knocking the Bucs other defensive backs, chances are there isn’t another one on the team that could have come up with that interception.
Banks finished the day with one tackle, the interception and two pass breakups.CB Leonard Johnson
Johnson, the smallest of the Bucs starter in the secondary, reminds me of the chicken hawk in the old Looney Tunes cartoons – smaller than most, but tougher than many. Like the character in the cartoons Johnson doesn’t know any better that he probably shouldn’t be excelling as well as he actually is. And while most likely he gives way to Banks as the full time starter at cornerback in the near future, Johnson will still see action on passing downs and nickel situations.
Sunday, Johnson was his usual steady self finishing the game with four tackles and also forcing an fumble. The play of Johnson and a number of players on defense has unfortunately been overshadowed by the all of the off-the-field nonsense and the 0-4 early season disaster.LB Dekoda Watson
Watson finally earned an opportunity to be the starter this year and while he has split time with Jonathan Casillas, the former Noles standout has finally embraced his role as something other than just a special teams standout. And that is good news for Watson who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Watson could very well go on to earn a nice contract with his overall play this year. Question is, will it be from Tampa Bay or another team?
Sunday, Watson tied for the team lead in tackles with six and also added two tackles for loss.HONORABLE MENTION:
DT Gary Gibson, LB Mason Foster, LB Lavonte David, S Dashon GoldsonMOST DISAPPOINTINGRB Doug Martin
Martin had one of his most unproductive days in his short NFL career on Sunday; managing just 45 yards on 27 carries, finishing with just a 1.7 yard per carry average. Sure the Cardinals came into the game with a game plan to stack the box and stop the run at all costs. And yes there were very few running lanes to slip through. However, as long as rookie Mike Glennon is under center you can be assured that every opponent from here on out will have the exact same game plan. Martin, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, and the entire offensive line better figure out a way to beat an eight and sometimes even a nine-man front, as they will get a heavy dose of it until Glennon proves he can make teams pay.
Even when there were some running lanes Martin spent a ton of time dancing an not exploding through the holes, appearing to be pressing to break a long one,and not taking what the defense was giving him. Instead of taking three yards, Martin juked, quick cut and moved laterally at times, and ending up with a short or even no gain rushing attempts at times. Martin also committed one of head coach Greg Schiano’s cardinal sins – putting the ball on the ground.
No one is down on Martin, but Sunday wasn't his best effort. Of course occasionally giving the guy a break would be helpful.QB Mike Glennon
For three quarters Mike Glennon was well on
his way to being on the most impressive list. The first half in
particular was was very good as the Bucs rookie signal caller was crisp
and accurate for the most part, finding receivers open after going
through his progressions. But the wheels came off late as the rookie
began playing like a rookie. With the pressure on to milk the clock,
Glennon began locking on to wide receiver Vincent Jackson and forced two
passes that ended up being intercepted. Glennon’s lack of mobility was
also evident, but was far from the reason Tampa Bay lost.
all Glennon performed as well as you might have expected a rookie to
play in his first start. There will be worse games than this one, and
certainly games much better in his future.Guards Davin Joseph & Carl Nicks
Tampa Bay’s two highest paid offensive linemen have struggled to show fans and their teammates they are earning their paychecks. Both are coming off of serious injuries and aren’t 100 percent in football shape yet or have been able to knock the rust off. But the Bucs to have any success in the coming weeks both of these former Pro Bowlers will need to pick up their game and do so quickly. If not do the Bucs dare go back to the Ted Larsen and Jamon Meredith lineup that produced a franchise-record offense? Doubtful, but something that has to be considered in a performance-based sport.
Carl Nicks said after the game the Buccaneers knew what the Cardinals would try and do and the Bucs have to figure out a way to get it done regardless of how many people are committed to stopping the run. Defensive ends Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and Da’Quan Bowers
The duo of Te’o-Nesheim and Bowers combined for a whopping two tackles all game on Sunday. The good news is the play of the Bucs left defensive ends didn’t have a negative impact on the game, as Tampa Bay’s defense played terrific for the most part all afternoon. But when Michael Vick, Matt Ryan, and others come to town, no sacks, pressures and just two tackles will most certainly bite the defense in the rear.LT Donald Penn
Penn, who came into the season in better shape than any previous year surrendered a crucial fourth quarter sack that gave up field position and allowed the Cardinals to get points on the board after having a short field to work with. Through four games Penn has already given up four sacks, a number usually not seen all season long. To be fair to Penn, he has played with an ineffective Gabe Carimi beside him and a struggling to get back into shape Carl Nicks. The chemistry of the three has certainly been lacking.DISHONORABLE MENTION:
KR Jeff Demps, S Ahmad Black, C Jeremy Zuttah
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