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Cardinals notes: Mendenhall had tough day

9/30/2013

TAMPA, Fla. -- It wasn’t Arizona running back Rashard Mendenhall’s fumble, dropped carry or bobbled pass that Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was unhappy about. Arians was not pleased with Mendenhall’s decision to try to run out of bounds with 1:43 left in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Cardinals, Mendenhall fumbled the ball out, allowing the clock to keep running and forcing Tampa Bay to call a timeout.

“Rashard had a very tough day and he can’t play that way,” Arians said. “He can’t run out of bounds. He’s a veteran. And to run out of bounds at the end of the game was ridiculous. That was probably the worst mistake he made all day.”

On the Cardinals’ second play of the game, Mendenhall missed an easy swing pass from quarterback Carson Palmer in the flat. Then on the team’s next drive, he dropped a ball but was ruled down. And on the very next play, Mendenhall fumbled and Tampa Bay recovered.

“It’s unlike him. He’s not a fumbler,” Arians said. “We need to practice him a little bit harder. I think we’ve been too easy on him in practice because of his injuries and we need to hone him up more because he’s not game ready.”

Moch produces in debut: He only saw the field for 25 plays, but recently promoted Dontay Moch made the most of them. Moch had a critical sack on third-and-10 with just under 3 minutes left that forced the Bucs to punt and allowed the Cardinals to hit a game-winning field goal.

“I saw it open up, I was rushing in and I kept baiting him the whole day, just showing the speed, just showing the speed and eventually it opened for me and I just took it,” Moch said. “I tried to get the safety but [mostly wanted] just to get the defense out.”

Arians talked all week about Moch’s speed and said after the game the linebacker proved himself.

“I had him on the table for two sacks going into the game,” Arians said, “and I knew he would show up.”

Arians finds success in Tampa: At least this time, the Cardinals won in Raymond James Stadium. Arians is used to leaving Tampa Bay a victor. He’s won his past three appearances in the home of the Bucs, culminating with Sunday’s 13-10 win as coach of the Cards.

His two previous wins in Tampa came as offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers, once during the regular season in 2010 and another in Super Bowl XLIII in 2008 -- against the Cardinals.

“Wouldn’t have any other ending at Raymond James Stadium,” Arians said. “Kind of used to those kind [of endings]. Haven’t been on the losing end yet, for a while, at this place.”