TAMPA -- Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said he knew Sunday could be a tough "trap" game, facing a winless team that was starting a rookie quarterback.
The game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned into what Palmer called an "absolute dogfight." The Cardinals overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Tampa Bay 13-10, handing the Buccaneers their third last-minute loss in a 0-4 opening month of the 2013 season.
"This is a good football team," Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said of the Buccaneers. "But they found a way to give it back to us."
Kicker Jay Feely hit a game-winning 27-yard field goal with 1 minute, 30 seconds left, capping off Arizona's final flurry. The Cardinals scored 10 points in the final four minutes, sparked by the first of two interceptions thrown by Buccaneers rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, who was making his first career NFL start.
"It's a very tough game, tough loss, for our guys," coach Greg Schiano said after falling to 1-8 in the past nine games. "We did a lot of things very well, just did too many things wrong, too many mistakes, to win. Certainly we're being tested, but we've got to stick together and we'll win."
The Cardinals appeared focused on stopping Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin, who was held to just 45 yards on 27 carries.
What the Cardinals said
"I think he's the best in the league. I'm sorry, some will argue that Darrelle (Revis) is, but I don't think it's close, in my opinion." -- Cardinals coach Bruce Arians on CB Patrick Peterson
What the Buccaneers said
"We as a defense will not ever be what we need to be until we learn to finish games. We've had three opportunities this year, out of four games, to finish a game, and we haven't. It makes all of the rest of the game irrelevant." - Bucs DT Gerald McCoy.
What we learned about the Cardinals
1. Their run defense is top notch. The Cardinals had a big challenge in trying to stop Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin, and they held him to a season low 45 yards on 27 carries. "We don't feel like anybody can run the football on us," Arians said.
2. Their offense is still a work in progress. Arizona didn't move the ball very well in the first half against the Bucs, and QB Carson Palmer - in his first year with the Cardinals - threw two drive-killing interceptions in the third quarter. WR Larry Fitzgerald had zero catches in the first half. But the Cardinals somehow found a way to pull it out, largely due to their defense, and two interceptions by star cornerback Patrick Peterson.
What we learned about the Buccaneers
1. They can't finish. The Bucs are 0-4, but could easily be 3-1 if they could hold onto a lead. Tampa Bay lost on last-minute field goals to the Jets in Week 1 and the Saints in Week 2, then blew a 10-point fourth-quarter advantage Sunday against the Cardinals. For as good and improved as the defense has been, it's irrelevant unless they can close it out.
2. QB Mike Glennon has room to grow. He showed some promise in his first NFL start. He managed the game well in the first half, helping Tampa Bay rack up 13 first downs and leading the Bucs to 10 first-half points. He has a big arm and can make all the throws, but the third-round pick out of North Carolina State made some rookie mistakes, including two late interceptions, that proved costly. Now that the Bucs are his team, Tampa Bay may have to deal with his growing pains.