We can’t quite call it a comeback, but it was a pretty decent effort.
Cardinals 38 – Bucs 33
The game’s big story so far a Bucs fans are concerned involves quarterback Jameis Winston, who was forced to exit the game in the second quarter after suffering a shoulder injury. As I write this, the word is that Winston’s X-rays were negative, and he’s scheduled to undergo an MRI this coming week. Here’s hoping he isn’t in the same boat as Packer’s QB Aaron Rodgers, who’s likely out for the rest of the season.
With Winston out and the Bucs down 31-0 after the Cardinals spent the early going smacking Tampa’s defense all up and down the field, backup Ryan Fitzpatrick took control of the Bucs offense and began piecing together a damned fine attempt at climbing out of that hole. Fitzpatrick completed 22 of 32 passes for 290+ yard and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the defense held Arizona to just eight more points while recovering a fumble and returning it for a Bucs touchdown. Tampa pulled to within five points with two minutes left in the game, but Arizona recovered the expected onside kick. Tampa, having no time-outs, was unable to stop the clock and the Cardinals were able to take a knee to end the game.
:: sad trombone sound ::
The loss drops Tampa to 2-3 and keeps them in the basement of the NFC South Division. Despite their loss, the Carolina Panthers remain in first place. New Orleans had a shoot-out against Detroit (52-38!) and is on a 3-game winning streak, so watch out, Panthers. Like the Bucs, Atlanta has also lost two in a row. Yeah, this division is as scrappy as ever.
Next up? The Bucs go home to host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday. With Winston at QB I’d think Tampa had a good shot at a win, but it’s possible Fitzpatrick could start in Winston’s stead. If he has a day like he did today, the Bucs could still be cooking with gas. Even so, there are still some questions about the defense that need answering, and quick.
Here’s hoping they find those answers.
Bucs life, amirite?