Many more questions will continue to surround the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they dropped another contest after leading in the fourth quarter. The to the Arizona Cardinals 13-10 loss was their third this season three points by three points or less. They are now 0-4, heading into the bye week and will have two weeks to dwell on their situation.
Before every game each week beat writer Gil Arcia comes out with his Five Keys To Victory. Then after the game takes a look at how the team fared in meeting the objectives. The following is an analysis on how Tampa Bay did against the keys to victory as well as grades.
Key 1. Glennon Doesn’t Have To Be Dynamite
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon started the game out as best as a rookie could. In the first half, Glennon was 15-for-24 for 155 yards and a first quarter touchdown to Mike Williams from eight yards out. He would should nice strength and accuracy on a 13-yard out to Williams in the second quarter. Glennon did a nice job hitting his target in the flats and across the middle of the field. The rookie also showed he can go through his progressions by starting to look at one side of the field and work his way back to the other. Unfortunately, that is about the only good side of Glennon we saw.
In the second half, Glennon was a non-factor, at least for the Bucs. He went 9-for-19 for 38 yards and two interceptions. Glennon started missing his targets, making poor reads, and was seen not going through his progressions as often as he was in the first half. His first interception came in the fourth quarter with just over three minutes left to play which lead to Arizona tying the game two plays later.
Although Glennon appeared to have the game under control, he quickly fell apart as he want from not losing the game to losing it.
Key 2. Hit The Ground Running
The Buccaneers were going to have a tough time running the football against Arizona to begin with and it was evident as the game went on.
Doug Martin rushed for 45 yards on 27 carries, three shy of a career high for rushing attempts. His 12-yard run where he broke tackles after bouncing it outside in the first quarter was overshadowed by the overall performance.
There was a Jeff Demps sighting at the end of the first quarter when his number was called on an end-around from the left side that saw the track star sprint off right tackle for a 14-yard gain.
The inability to mix in others in the running game allowed the Cardinals to hang around and not give much support for their rookie running back.
Key 3. Limit Palmer
The Buccaneers put on a nice defensive clinic throughout the game Sunday and Palmer was on the bad end of it all, except for one pass that mattered the most.
The Buccaneers’ started the game out strong after defensive tackle Gerald McCoy got to the veteran quarterback in the first quarter for an eight-yard sack. They also intercepted two Palmer passes; The first one came from rookie Johnthan Banks in the end zone as Palmer was trying to toss it over the top of the defenders, and the second one came courtesy of Tampa Bay’s $16 million man – Darrelle Revis – in the third quarter.
But that pass that he connected with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on was the pass that mattered the most as it was a touchdown that tied the game, beating Revis in man coverage.
Palmer’s final stat line was 21-for-38 for 248 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions with a passer rating of 62.2.
Key 4. Pitt Style Reunion
The unofficial tally of how often cornerback Darrelle Revis was lined up across Cardinals’ wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was 41 times out of 58 total plays. The All-Pro Revis did have his way for the majority of the game. Not one pass was thrown Fitzgerald’s way in the first half and in the third quarter when he was thrown to his direction, Revis got an interception as he anticipated a back shoulder throw.
Fitzgerald caught a total of six passes for 68 yards but the one catch that proved to be most important was a game-tying touchdown reception that Revis was covering him man-to-man on.
Key 5. Get The Gameplan Right
Tampa Bay’s coaching staff appeared to have things right. They had the defense playing a lot of man coverage and lots of different looks and blitzes from the defensive side that presented problems for Arizona. On offense, they stuck with the majority of the similar three-wide sets we’ve seen this season and allowed Mike Glennon to go through his progressions. But like the previous three weeks, something happened at halftime.
The Buccaneers went to less man coverage allowing Carson Palmer and the offense march downfield multiple times. On offense, Glennon rarely was seen going through his progressions and being locked in more on Vincent Jackson and not spreading the ball around as much. Later in the fourth quarter, when the Bucs were up 10-3 with under four minutes to play, a passing play from the sidelines was called inside their own 10-yard line which resulted in an interception. Then on defense, the Bucs got away from what kept Arizona out of the game for the majority of it which was pressure and switch to more zone coverage.
Once again, the staff did not put the players in the best position to win a football game.