- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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What it means: The Cardinals are starting to look like they're in real trouble offensively. Before the fourth quarter Sunday, they went without a touchdown for six consecutive quarters because of an inability to finish deep inside opponents' territory. But there are larger issues, such as the play calling. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald wasn’t targeted once in the first half. When he finally was, the offense started moving, only to stall out thanks to two interceptions by quarterback Carson Palmer. The inability to convert on third down continued, which prevented Arizona from sustaining drives. The Cards had the ball for just 10 minutes, 23 seconds in the first half.
Stock watch: No one player on the Cardinals’ defense played well enough to warrant being singled out, and too many played poorly. Patrick Peterson saved the day for Arizona with an interception late in the fourth that allowed the Cards to tie the game, then eventually go ahead for good. The defense kept the Cards in the game despite the circumstances. They not only came in without four starters but also lost Darnell Dockett and Jasper Brinkley during the game to groin injuries.
Picked off: Two of the Cardinals’ best opportunities to score were derailed by interceptions by Palmer. And both display his continued penchant for throwing short or wide. The first was with the Cards lined up at the Bucs' 15, Palmer was a few feet short of an open Michael Floyd. On the second, Palmer went a tad wide to Fitzgerald and was picked off by Darrelle Revis. Two passes that could’ve been completed had Palmer’s accuracy been a little tighter.
Mental mishaps: Maybe the Cardinals were still stuck in vacation mode, but some of their on-the-field decisions Sunday raised a few eyebrows. Palmer was flagged for an intentional grounding because he threw a pass into the feet of an offensive lineman instead of holding it during a sack. And Dockett’s taunting and horse-collar penalties helped the Bucs’ field position.
What's next: The Cardinals return home after a 1-1 road trip to host the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. MT Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.