After a week of limited practices and questionable statuses from Tampa Bay's two leading receivers, Bucs fans were relieved 90 minutes before kickoff when active players were announced. Adam Schefter was among the first to note:
Bucs WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams both active. — Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 29, 2013
It was a big day for Tampa Bay sports as the Rays started their 162nd game at the same time, looking to make it into the MLB playoffs. The one and only Dick Vitale showed his confidence in the Bay-area before kickoff:
The Cardinals opened the game with the ball. On the first play from scrimmage, Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy immediately made his presence felt with an 8-yard sack of Arizona QB Carson Palmer. Bucs' mascot Captain Fear boldly celebrated:
Trading punts, the Cardinals offense again took the field, and again the story was the Buccaneers defense. RB Rashard Mendenhall took the handoff and was stripped by Leonard Johnson. McCoy picked it up and rumbled to the 41-yard line. TBO.com writer Roy Cummings:
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy playing like a Pro Bowler today. A sack and a fumble recovery. Big day already — Roy Cummings (@RCummingsTBO) September 29, 2013
With great field position, Mike Glennon lead his team down the field before hitting WR Mike Williams with his first NFL touchdown pass. NFL on ESPN notes the milestone:
Mike Glennon, WELCOME TO THE NFL!! -- First EVER NFL touchdown pass, an 8 yarder to Mike Williams. Bucs 7-0 over Cardinals. — NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 29, 2013
As the first quarter came to a close, the Buccaneers defense looked solid, holding the Cardinals to just 40 total yards. Fox 13's Kevin ODonnell adds:
Cards had 4 1st quarter possessions. Longest drive 4 plays. Bucs defense is dominating. — Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) September 29, 2013
Neither offense could get much going in the second quarter. The Buccaneers defense continued to hold Arizona's game in check, while the Cardinal defense put pressure on the young quarterback and maintained Doug Martin on the ground by stacking the box with eight men. As the quarter wound down, TBO.com's Ira Kaufman praised the efforts of the Bucs' D:
With 4:50 left in the 2Q, the punchless Cards have generated only three first downs and 83 yards against a much improved Tampa Bay defense — Ira Kaufman (@IKaufmanTBO) September 29, 2013
The Buccaneers had the ball as the clock approached two minutes left in the second quarter.
Pass completed over the middle to Ogletree by Glennon and they pick up a Bucs first down. Two minute warning at 1:56. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) September 29, 2013
In the midst of his first NFL two-minute drill, Mike Glennon threw over the middle to TE Tim Wright, drawing a personal foul on the Cardinals. He then hit Mike Williams for 13 yards and Wright again for 15. Glennon's big arm prompted this note from the correspondents at NFL: Around the League:
The drive would end on the foot of Rian Lindell, who connected from 50 yards out.
The first half would end much like it started, with a big play from Gerald McCoy as he had a near interception at the line of scrimmage. Buccaneers.com head writer Scott Smith,
Gerald McCoy is hitting all the stat categories in this first half - sack, tackle, TFL, pass defensed, QB hit, fumble recovery. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) September 29, 2013
To begin the second half, the Buccaneers would receive some bad news.
With Barron sidelined, the Cardinals offense would find its stride. On a drive that started at Arizona's own eight-yard line, Carson Palmer drove his team to within the Buccaneers red zone.
On second-and-14, Carson Palmer looked toward WR Michael Floyd in the end zone, but the ball was snagged out of the air by rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks, his first NFL interception. Jenna Laine's reaction matched that of the Bucs' fans in attendance:
The Buccaneers would be forced to punt after a three-and-out on the next drive. Carson Palmer hit Floyd on another big 22-yard passing play, going into Buccaneers' territory, but the Bucs defense would again answer strongly.
At the end of third, the Bucs were on top, holding the Cardinals to a 14% third-down efficiency and winning in first down 17-11.
The Bucs' offense struggled to get rolling and their fourth quarter drive was stopped as Mike Glennon and Doug Martin fumbled on a handoff. One big Cardinal's offensive play put them in field goal range. Scott Smith again:
Tampa Bay's defense holds after the turnover and forces Arizona to settle for a field goal. — Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) September 29, 2013
The Buccaneers would receive the ball back, looking to run down the time and extend to their seven-point lead. Again, the team faced fourth down and lined up to punt. Matching the emotion of the audience, What the Buc and Greg Auman call the punt play:
Trickeration! — What the Buc? (@WhatTheBuc) September 29, 2013
Wild play -- Goldson rushes for 22 yards on fake punt. Bold call for Schiano from his own 25 with a 7-point lead in fourth quarter. — Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 29, 2013
With 4:12 on the game clock, the Buccaneers defense would stop the Cardinal offense again, forcing the seventh Arizona punt of the day.
Bucs defense stiffens at midfield. Forces punt. — JoeBucsFan (@JoeBucsFan) September 29, 2013
On the ensuing drive, the Buccaneer offense would continue to push, looking to make first downs and hold onto the ball. On second down, however, Cardinals' cornerback Patrick Peterson would cut off a pass.
Glennon picked off. Arizona will have the ball on Bucs 13 with 3:12 left. — Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) September 29, 2013
One play later the Cardinals would find the end zone for the first time of the day. Pewter Report calls the Fitzgerald reception:
Fitzgerald has been quiet but catches a 13-yard pass for a touchdown from Carson Palmer to tie the game at 10. — Pewter Report (@PewterReport) September 29, 2013
With just under three minutes left, on third-and-10, Mike Glennon was dropped for a sack at the one-yard line, leading to a punt deep from the back of the end zone. Patrick Peterson would return the ball back to Tampa Bay territory at the 38-yard line. On first down, Palmer hit WR Jaron Brown down the right sideline for a first down in the red zone. S Dashon Goldson would be called for unnecessary roughness on the play, pushing Brown out of bounds. The defense would keep Palmer and the offense out of the end zone, but they would make the field goal.
Cardinals take the lead 13-10 over Bucs — FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@MyFoxTampaBay) September 29, 2013
Down by three, the Buccaneers offense took the field one last time. Glennon would find Tim Wright for 13 yards to the left. Then WR Kevin Ogletree to the right for another eight yards. WDAE takes over for the second-and-two play with :56 seconds remaining:
The Cardinals would take the field one more time, kneeling twice to end the game.
FINAL: Cards 13, Bucs 10 Logon to bccn.rs for the postgame press conf, which we'll bring to you LIVE, beginning shortly. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) September 29, 2013