Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald - Photo by: Getty Images
Heading to Arizona proved to be even rougher than expected Sunday.
After playing to a scoreless draw throughout the first quarter, the Cardinals opened it up on Tampa Bay in the second with 24 unanswered points en route to a 40-7 blowout.
The Buccaneers’ only points of the game came on their first drive of the third quarter when quarterback Jameis Winston hit receiver Mike Evans with a back-shoulder pass in the end zone. That touchdown cut Arizona’s sizeable lead to 24-7, but that’s as close as it would get.
Tampa Bay allowed Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer to post a 124.1 passer rating by completing 18 of 31 attempts for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He hit seven different receivers Sunday, with Larry Fitzgerald securing six for 81 yards and a score. The Bucs also provided the veteran quarterback a little time off to relax. Arizona finished its last three offensive series with backup Drew Stanton taking the snaps.
This was not a solid performance for Winston and Arizona took full advantage of the second-year signal callers misses.
Winston was picked off four times and lost another possession with a fumble because of a miscommunication with running back Charles Sims. That mishap came in the miserable second quarter and resulted in Palmer’s 1-yard touchdown pass to receiver Michael Floyd.
Victimizing Winston twice was cornerback Marcus Cooper, the second of which was returned 60 yards for a touchdown.
Though early drives didn’t result in any points, Winston was moving the Bucs fairly well before the wheels came off and Arizona ran away with the game. Winston finished his day with a passer rating of 39.2 by throwing for 243 yards, a touchdown and the four picks on 27 of 52 passing.
COMING HOME BRUISED
Not helping matters Sunday were a number of injuries suffered by Bucs players. Running back Doug Martin went down and out early with a hamstring injury and he was followed by defensive end Robert Ayers, tight end Luke Stocker and receiver Cecil Shorts III.
Sims stepped in to take Martin’s place but couldn’t get anything going to help the offense. And by the time the second half rolled around facing a 24-0 deficit, Tampa Bay all but abandoned the running game. Sims finished with 24 yards on nine carries and caught three passes for four yards. Sims’ rough day included bumping into Winston to cause the lost fumble and not being able to hold onto a tipped pass that resulted in Cooper’s long pick-6.
Ayers’ injury took a pass rushing option away from a defensive front that was already struggling to pressure Palmer with him in the game. Rookie Noah Spence’s second-half sack – the first of his career – ended up being the only one of the game.
JOHNSON AND JOHNSON
Arizona’s running back combo of David Johnson and Chris Johnson combined for 197 yards of offense and a touchdown. Ninety-nine of those yards came on 28 carries and David Johnson picked up the other 98 yards with three catches.
Tampa Bay kept the duo contained for 70 total offensive yards in the first half, but both Johnson’s became hard to stop in the final two quarters.
UP AND DOWN
Getting the ball to Evans was a focus Sunday, and while the third-year wideout had some nice moments, it wasn’t enough.
Evans caught six passes for 70 yards and the touchdown, but he was targeted a game-high 17 times. He caught all three of his targets in the first half, but the Arizona defense was ready for the Winston-to-Evans connection in the second. That’s when only three of 14 passes resulted in completions.
As the team’s most potent offensive threat, Evans’ involvement should be high every week. The offensive staff and Winston can’t expect much success with this type of inefficiency, though.
BIG SPLASH, LITTLE SPLASH
When it came to delivering big plays, Arizona found ways to get into open space that Tampa Bay could not.
David Johnson turned a short pass into a 58-yard gain in the third quarter that set up Chandler Catanzaro’s 40-yard field goal.
Arizona got another 50-plus yarder in the second when receiver Jaron Brown got behind the Bucs secondary and hauled in a 51-yard touchdown.
In three quarters of play, the Cardinals came up with six plays of at least 20 yards and two resulted in touchdowns.
Tampa Bay had two such plays – a 24-yard pass from Winston to Adam Humphries and a 24-yard run by newcomer Jacquizz Rodgers. Evans’ touchdown reception was a 19-yarder.
The Bucs split their two road games to open the season and will head back to Tampa Bay to prepare for next Sunday’s home opener against the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams are also 1-1 after coming back to beat Seattle, 9-3.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.
I didn’t feel it afterall! Now that we are back to realit,y maybe we can first achieve winning 6-8 games before we think of ourselves as playoff contenders. I know Winston will be blamed for too much for the loss and that would be wrong. Pass protection wasn’t good and he was forced over and over out of the pocket. Looks like on Offense we need another OL and a WR. Defense was terrible. They were smart enough to eliminate David and Alexander by staying away from them. Grimes, D. Smith, and no pass rush was the problem. Looks like we still are in need of pass rushers, a Safety, and a bigger Corner. Meanwhile we have a good chance in beating the Rams at home. Go Bucs!
Can’t get too high with wins, too low with losses. TB area radio talk shows were celebrating too soon on this team after the Falcons’ win. Team got a wake up call early in the season. Hopefully they’ll learn from it. Hopefully also that the 3-4 players unable to finish the game due to injury will be back soon.
I am still optimistic. This is one game against a very good team. We got our clocks cleaned. But losing Ayres and Martin is scary. Winston clearly had a bad game. I am guessing every team that we play this year will be studying this game. You can bet they will come after Winston after this. They might think they can rattle him.
Pretty much the polar opposite of what happened last week. They didn’t play well on offense, defense or special teams. I didn’t break down how well every player did last week because I thought it would be to much to read as a post. By the same logic I’m not going to break down what every player did wrong this week. I expected the score to be closer than what it was but I didn’t expect the Bucs to win this week. I’ll be there for the home opener next week and hopefully the Bucs can get things turned around. After two weeks I guess it’s not as useful for me to say whether I thought the team was going to win after the fact, so based on what I know now about the Bucs injuries and our history against J. Fisher and their pass rush I don’t think we’re going to win next week either.
A ton of issues in this game. I think loss of Ayers showed up after he left as Mccoy was doubled rest of game and rest of dline was less than great. I thought 2 worst players on D were Kwon and Conte. And I thought our receivers were crap.
No pressure on the QB is killing this defense. I may not be right but when I watch the replay I will know better but it looked like on that 3rd and 10 the Cards converted in the second quarter McCoy took the play off.
At least the CB’s were closer to the receivers this year when they are getting burned.
Can’t turn the ball over three times in the first half an expect good things to come from it. Was it just me or did it look like Vincent Jackson was running with cement shoes.
Jackson doesn’t look right to me either Dr.D. He looks disinterested. Doesn’t get separation. Runs a wrong route. Makes a nice catch then drops it.
expected before the bye. The Bucs are average. In our division we should get second place and would need luck to get a playoff spot.
What today showed is that Licht made a major mistake overpaying Doug Martin. No one else would have given him that kind of contract. Running backs are not premium position anymore. Sink your money into OL and Defensive Front 7.
Although I like Vincent Jackson he is not worth his salary. Humphries looks to be a bargain.
In the past when the Bucs took a a$$ kicking like they did today, there would be no bright spots. Today, there were plays where you can at least have some optimism.
I went to the game Sunday. I was really surprised how many Buc fans made it to the game. The Cardinals have the Super Bowl win or Bust mentality and we still made a great showing. Good job Arizona/Florida Buc fans. I thought the game was actually closer than the score. It seemed to me we moved the ball pretty easily against them. The turnovers were the disaster. And we could not get any QB pressure. Give Palmer time and with all his weapons, and he will make plays.
The Cardinals have this annoying “Red Sea Rise Up” noise making thing they do on 3rd down. I am sure a lot of the sound is pumped in. I like Raymond James Stadium better, except the fans in Glendale were pretty excited and the crowd had more energy than in Tampa. Mostly cause Tampa has been so bad the last few years and the Cardinals so good. The Tampa bandwagon doesn’t need a lot to get going.
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