Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon brought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out to 10-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, but a fumble and two interceptions opened the door for the Cardinals to rally, putting up 13 points in the final quarter to win 13-10.
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, things started to unravel, beginning with a botched exchange between Glennon and running back Doug Martin on first-and-10 at the Arizona 48. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy recovered the ball, setting up a 42-yard field goal by Jay Feely to give the Cardinals their first points of the game.
Then on second-and-6 at the Tampa Bay 11, Glennon was picked off by cornerback Patrick Peterson on a pass intended for Vincent Jackson. Carson Palmer then connected with Larry Fitzgerald over the middle on a 13-yard touchdown, making it a tied ball game 10-10.
With 1:56 remaining, safety Dashon Goldson slammed into Cardinals wide receiver Jaron Brown after Brown made a 19-yard catch. The Bucs were slapped with an unnecessary roughness penalty, moving the Cardinals to the Tampa Bay 9 yard line.
Three plays later, kicker Jay Feeley hit a game-winning 27-yard field goal, giving the Cardinals a 13-10 lead.
The Bucs regained one final possession with 1:29 remaining, but another attempt sailed away from Vincent Jackson and into the hands of Peterson at the Tampa Bay 47. He finished the game with two interceptions.
“We saw that route almost every day of the week this week and it finally paid off,” said Peterson of his first pick.
“The quarterback [Mike Glennon], he was telegraphing the throw. He was looking at Vincent [Jackson] pretty much the whole time and I undercut the route and made a huge interception for this Arizona Cardinal team to help that momentum shift for this Arizona Cardinal team to help that momentum shift for us to go out and get the W.”
Glennon said he was off by about a foot on the throw, which was the difference maker. “He was open; the read took me there. It was a great play call and I just have to put the ball one foot out in front [to avoid the interception].”
He acknowledged the second pick came from trying to force things and that he “probably should have thrown it out of bounds and [lived] to see another down.”
Glennon finished the game 24 of 43 with 193 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
His touchdown, the first of his NFL career, was an 8-yard strike to Mike Williams, giving the Bucs a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. It was set up by a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
On the Cardinals’ second offensive possession, cornerback Leonard Johnson forced a fumble by Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall at the Tampa Bay 47, with McCoy returning it 12 yards to the Arizona 41.
Glennon needed the assistance of the Bucs defense in terms of field position and momentum. He was sacked twice, facing a Cardinals defense that continually brought the heat with nine-man fronts, bottling up the Bucs’ ground game.
Running back Doug Martin rushed for 45 yards on 27 carries. Of the Cardinals’ 11 tackles for losses, nine resulted in negative run plays for Doug Martin, who averaged just 1.7 yards per carry.
“We didn’t run the ball effectively all day,” said head coach Greg Schiano. “Our biggest rush was [Dashon Goldson’s] fake punt. Then [running back Jeff] Demps had a big run on the speed sweep. We didn’t conventionally run it very well at all.”
On fourth-and-1 with 9:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, Goldson took the snap on a fake punt and ran it 22 yards to the Tampa Bay 47-yard line.
Demps, a former Gator and Olympic track silver medalist making his NFL debut, had a 14-yard gain on an end-around in the first quarter.
On defense, the Bucs locked down Cardinals No. 1 receiver Larry Fitzgerald with Darrelle Revis, limiting him to zero catches in the first half. He came roaring back in the second, however, with nine catches for 68 receiving yards and a touchdown.
“I tip my hat off to him on that last play. It was a great run,” said Revis on the touchdown. “It was a triple move route. It was a good route. You have to take punches that way too, [and] he threw one at me and he executed it and it cost us.”
Revis led the team with six tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception at the Tampa Bay 33 yard line at the end of the third quarter.
Rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks also had an interception — a spectacular one-armed leaping grab on a pass intended for Michael Floyd in the end zone.
“I was trying to sneak it over the rookie’s head and he made a great play,” said Palmer, who finished 21 of 38 for 248 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. “That guy is long and he made a really good catch. That’s a very good team [and] that’s a very good defense.”
Second-year safety Mark Barron left the game with a hamstring injury after the first half and did not return.
With Darrelle Revis defending Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd became Carson Palmer’s top target, finishing with 10 catches for 87 receiving yards.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had his second sack of the season. It came on the first play from scrimmage, resulting in an 8-yard loss.
Quarterback Josh Freeman, who lost his starting job this week, was inactive and ordered not to be on the field. He watched the game from a suite and visited the locker room briefly before leaving, declining to be interviewed about his status with the team.