Cardinals’ defense stands tough, keys comeback victory in Tampa
The Arizona Cardinals’ comeback victory over the Tampa Buccaneers Sunday was summed up succinctly by their head coach after the game.
“We made enough dumb plays to lose the game, but we made enough good plays to win it,” Bruce Arians said.
A lot of those good plays came on the defensive side of the football.
Despite notable players — Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, Alex Okafor and Rashad Johnson — inactive Sunday, Todd Bowles’ unit was fantastic.
The Cardinals’ defense held Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards in 2012, to 45 yards on 27 carries Sunday.
And with Martin virtually a non-factor, Arizona tried to make rookie quarterback Mike Glennon win the game in his NFL debut.
“I think the big thing for us was to stop the run and to make them one dimensional,” said Arians. “Then we could get exotic and blitz [Glennon] and sack him. We were able to do that early and often.
“He’s a tough kid. He hung in there strong right down to the wire. We confused him on the last play and he threw it right into coverage.”
The last play — Patrick Peterson’s second interception on the day — was the third turnover committed by the NC State standout in the fourth quarter and sealed the victory for the Cardinals. And while Glennon looked comfortable in the first half (115 yards passing and a touchdown), over the final 30 minutes of play he saw an increasing number of blitz packages thrown his way and subsequently struggled to manufacture much of an offensive attack (73 yards passing).
With a shaky quarterback behind center and no threat of a run game, Tampa failed to score a single point in the second half.
The second-half shutout marks the second time in three weeks, Arizona has blanked a team over the final 30 minutes of play.