Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wrap-up: Bucs 38, Cardinals 35
By Mike Sando
What it means: The Cardinals remained wildly inconsistent and it cost them a share of first place in the NFC West. They turned a 31-14 deficit into a 35-31 lead, only to lose that lead and the game. Derek Anderson emerged as the team's lesser of two evils at quarterback after the Bucs returned two Max Hall interceptions for touchdowns.
What I liked: The Cardinals kept fighting back. They made plays on defense and special teams to largely atone for the interception returns. Anderson gave the team a spark. Gerald Hayes' touchdown return in his first game back from injury was a pleasant surprise for Arizona. Steve Breaston made big plays in his first game back from injury. It's just tough to win games when giving up multiple interception returns for touchdowns.
What I didn't like: Arizona needs to become a ball-control, play-it-safe team in the post-Kurt Warner era. Instead, the Cardinals have stuck with their four-receiver mentality more than expected. They've suffered repeated interceptions. They entered Week 7 ranked last in time of possession. It's looking more and more like the Cardinals failed to have an adequate fallback plan once Warner retired. They might need to change their mindset, too.
Critical call: The Cardinals threw incomplete on fourth-and-2 from the Tampa Bay 3-yard-line with 3:20 remaining in the second quarter. The three points Arizona ceded in that situation wound up being pretty valuable.
What's next: The Cardinals visit the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9.