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Late Mistakes Lead To Another Bucs Loss Against Cardinals

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By Max Luckan

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Greg Schiano holds his head during the fourth quarter of their 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano (Credit, Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The collapse in Tampa continues. Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano made headlines this week when he made a change at quarterback, inserting rookie Mike Glennon as the starter over Josh Freeman. At the time of the change, Schiano said that Glennon gives the team the best chance to win going forward.

Furthermore, Schiano made Freeman inactive for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, which further indicates that Freeman’s days in a Bucs uniform are numbered. Glennon, who made his first career NFL start against the Cardinals, started off playing well, but made crucial mistakes in the second half, and the Bucs fell to 0-4 with a 13-10 loss to the Cardinals.

Quarterback Grade: C-

On Sunday, Glennon completed 24-43 passes for 193 yards, two interceptions, and one touchdown. Glennon completed 55.8 percent of his passes in his first start, which is a significant upgrade over Freeman. But the rookie was unable to get the job done, throwing two crucial interceptions in the second half.

Glennon was sacked twice and did look like a rookie at times, but early on he put the Bucs in position to score, which the offense failed to do. Some of Glennon’s passes were impressive, but others were reminiscent of some of Freeman’s throws. While it’s not Glennon’s fault that the offense again failed to score enough points, his first interception allowed the Cardinals to take the lead late.

Offense Grade: D

Putting up a total of 253 yards against the Cards, the Bucs offense took a small step in the right direction with Glennon at the helm. However, scoring only 10 points won’t get it done week in and week out.

Running back Doug Martin was unable to get anything going. He finished with 27 carries for an abysmal 45 yards on the ground. The offensive line, which is littered with Pro Bowl-caliber players, failed to create running lanes all game and the running game suffered as a result.

The play calling on offense was better than in recent weeks on Sunday, with more creativity coming from offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. But overall, the offense isn’t getting the job done and it’s becoming clear that the coaching staff deserves a huge chunk of the blame.

Defense Grade: B+

Allowing only 13 points is always a positive, and that’s exactly what the Bucs defense did against Arizona. Through four weeks this season, the theme for Tampa Bay has been poor play on offense and mostly stellar play on defense.

The defense forced three turnovers, with cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darrelle Revis each recording an interception. The Bucs allowed 296 yards on defense, but the defensive unit played much better than that number might indicate. Once again, the defensive line shut down the Cardinals running game, and the secondary did its job well. Revis was able to shut down wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for most of the game, but Fitzgerald was able to score a late touchdown.

Special Teams Grade: B-

Finally, Bucs kicker Rian Lindell was able to connect on a long field goal of 50 yards, which put some points on the board. Lindell has struggled in the kicking game recently, but he did what he was asked to do against the Cardinals.

Meanwhile, punter Michael Koenen had to punt eight times on Sunday, pinning the Cardinals inside their own 20-yard line twice. Koenen has probably been the most consistent player on special teams this season and continues to be a valuable asset in the field position battle.

Kick returners Eric Page and Jeff Demps struggled in the return game, as they weren’t really able to get in any decent returns.

For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.

Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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