The Arizona Cardinals have traveled to Tampa Bay to square up against a rookie quarterback making his NFL debut. Unfortunately for our simulations we're unable to adjust the roster for the opposing teams without a lot of work, so the Cardinals will still be facing Josh Freeman which could be good or bad based on the week 4 roster updates from his play to date.
Mike Glennon is rated as an 63 overall, while Josh Freeman is rated as an 83 so the Cardinals will be facing a much better passer than what Madden predicts Glennon will play like.
Important Roster Moves to align with AzCardinals.com Depth Chart:
ROLB - John Abraham starting, Matt Shaughnessy 2nd
SLB - Quincy Black OVR 73 (In place of Dontay Moch), Vic So'Oto
MLB - Dansby, Brinkley, Minter, Black OVR 67 (In place of Kenny Demens)
NT - Dan Williams moved off the depth chart to reflect his not playing
Suspended - Darryl Washington is off the depth chart for his last game of his suspension
Unable to acquire - Alfonso Smith
All other positions are up to date.
1st Quarter: The first quarter starts out as a shoot out with both teams trying to air out the ball deep to gain big chunks of yards. The Cardinals use a set of deep passes to set up the run and then go back to the deep pass to allow Larry Fitzgerald to catch and run for a 58 yard score ( Cardinals 7-0). The Buccaneers seem to be subscribing to the same method of attempting deep passes to set up the run, but Doug Martin is unable to get any room when running between the tackles. The Bucs settle for a punt from the which the Cardinals are unable to do anything with it and the drive stalls at the 50 yard line. The Cardinals punt the ball deep into the Bucs territory where the ball is downed on the six yard line. The first play is a run up the middle by Doug Martin who is untouched and streaks 94 yards for a touchdown ( Cardinals 7 - 7 Bucs).
2nd Quarter: Opening the 2nd the Cardinals drive stalls and they punt the ball away. The Bucs get pinned deep in their teritory and punt the ball away to Patrick Peterson. Peterson has great blocking and ends up returning the ball 26 yards and is tripped up by the punter. The Cardinals drive is stalled by a 48 yard interception by E. Wright taking the ball back to the Cardinals 15 yard line. Doug Martin makes two attempts to cover the final 15 yards, rushing for 1, then 14 yards and a TD ( 7 - 14 Bucs). The Cardinals drive down to close out the half with Roberts and Housler featured for a 25 yard strike and 19 yard pass respectively, but the Cardinals have to settle for a FG to close out the half. ( 10 - 14 Bucs).
3rd Quarter: The Cardinals open up the third quarter with a series of dropped passes but they are helped by multiple penalties called against the Bucs defense. Following some extra curicular activities and a free 15 yards on 3rd and long the Cardinals are able to connect with Larry Fitzgerald for a 23 yard pass which stops at the Bucs 8 yard line. Even at the 8 the Cardinals can not get the push needed and have to settle for a FG ( 13 - 14 Bucs). The Bucs and Cards trade punts due to defensive stands, setting up the Bucs next posession. On the first play of the drive Dontay Moch (Quincy Black) intercepts a pass and returns it 13 yards to the TD and settle for a field goal to take the lead ( Cardinals 16-14). The Bucs are unable to make any progress down the field, punting the ball away to the Cardinals to close out the 3rd quarter. The drive stalls in the red zone and the Cardinals settle for another Feely field goal (Cardinals 19-14).
4th Quarter: The Cardinals Defense stops another Bucs drive just outside of field goal range and has now done it's part to keeping the Cardinals in the game, but it's time for the Cardinals to close out this game by scoring touchdowns. The Cardinals get good field position on a bad punt and start at the Cardinals 45 yard line. Palmer makes three passes Roberts and Floyd, then uses Mendenhall for two short gains to set up the deep pass to Larry Fitzgerald for a TD (Cardinals 26 - 14). The Bucs Offense finally finds it's gear and uses a drive heavily dependant on Doug Martin to catch passes out of the back field and make runs for 6 yards at a time. Vincent Jackson makes a 30 yard catch, followed by an 18 yard catch to Stocker which sets up Doug Martin to try two attempts to score at the one yard line. On third down Brian Leonard is able to push the pile for a TD ( Cardinals 26 - 21).
With four minutes left on the clock the Cardinals are only able to run down two minutes before losing yards on back to back blitz plays stalling the drive at midfield. Zastudil punts the ball 53 yards for a touchback, forcing the Bucs to drive the length of the field with2:22 left. The Bucs try to use play action to leverage their previous success but the Cardinals Defense sees right through the smoke screen and tackles for a loss.
The Cardinals dial up the pressure and force the Bucs to punt the ball from their 15 yard line to an eager Patrick Peterson. Patrick Peterson takes the ball to the left hash mark, then circles back around to the right side and uses a burst of speed to cut into the open field blazing up the right side line for a 71 yard return for a TD ( Cardinals 33 - 21). With one minute left on the clock Schiano's team uses it's never say die attitude to drive down the field with their three time outs left. Freeman is able to make three deep passes of 18 yards each taking the Bucs from the 15 yard line to the Cardinals 30 yard line. On the next play there is a botched hand off between Freeman and Martin and Calias Campbell comes up with the ball on a game sealing fumble recovery.
Box Score || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || Final
Cardinals || 7 || 6 || 6 || 14|| 33
Buccaneers || 7 || 7 || 0 || 7 || 21
Palmer 78.3 Rating, 31/56, 345 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Freeman 44.7 Rating, 16/40, 189 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Martin 11 att, 161 yards, 14.6 avg, 2 TD
Mendenhall 24 att, 79 yards, 3.2 avg, 0 TD
Ellington 4 att, 13 yards, 3.2 avg, 0 TD
Leonard 6 att, -4 yards, -0.6 avg, 1 TD
Fitzgerald 11 rec, 137 yards, 12.4 avg, 2 TD
Floyd 7 rec, 92 yards, 13.1 avg
Jackson 6 rec, 79 yards, 13.1 avg
Mendenhall 5 rec, 17 yards, 3.4 avg
Roberts 4 rec, 50 yards, 12.5 avg
3rd Down Conv:
Cardinals 9-21 (42%)
Bucs 4-15 (26%)
The Cardinals are able to use this win to get to 2-2 tied for 2nd in the division, and make the most of a road win following an ugly loss to the Saints the week before. The defense while decimated with injuries makes many stands to keep the Cardinals in the game, and the offense produced a lot of yards and points considering the many red zone opportunities.