Week 8: Cardinals 52- Bucs 45 (Cardinals Survive Shootout at Sun Devil Corral) Cardinals Survive Shootout at Sun Devil Corral In the first game following the drastic mid season adjustments by the new management in Arizona, the Cardinals were out to prove that last weeks loss to the winless Seahawks was more of an anomaly than a habit. After an up and down performance from John Skeleton last week, Coach West decided to give this young rookie another chance to gain some experience. The Cardinals win the toss and opt to receive. The initial drive started with the Cardinals running and passing down the field until Coach PittsRocks OLB ROCKED Beanie Wells and caused a fumble in Cardinal Territory. The Bucs capitalized on the good field position and brought it in for 7, Cardinals 0 â€“ Bucs 7. On the ensuing kickoff, now with more hesitancy the Cardinals drive stalled with a third a long around their 20 when on 3rd down Skeleton finds Garvin over the middle for an 80 yard run and catch touchdown, Cardinals 7 â€“ Bucs 7. On the Bucs next drive they stall deep in their own territory and have to punt it away and the Cardinals get an opportunity to make up for their initial turnover when the Bucs defense pops the ball out again this time for 6 points. (Are we seeing a trend hereâ€¦) Cardinals 7 â€“ Bucs 14. After the Cardinals receive the ensuing kick, the confidence in their run game has all but evaporated so they only keep all the running between tackles, but mostly drive down the field in the air until Beanie Wells punches it in off tackle 10 yards for the score Cardinals 14 â€“ Bucs 14. End of 1st The beginning of the 2nd saw the Bucs receiving the ball and growing tired of there ineffective running game. So they catch the defense in an aggressive position and get the ball to Mike Williams for an 84 yard touchdown throw on their first possession of the 2nd quarter Cardinals 14 â€“ Bucs 21. Cardinals get the ball and are unable to do anything with it and are forced to punt to the Bucs. The Bucs then drive down the field ball stall around the 31 yard line and opt for a FG, However the kick sails wide left and the Cardinals get the ball. Cardinals then drive down the field and stall at the 37 yard line of the Bucs. Seeing this high scoring affair getting out of hand quickly they opt to go for it on 4th and 3 and make a first. Then John Skeleton drives them down until he finds TE Beckum in the endzone for a 11 yd TD Cardinals 21 â€“ Bucs 21. The Bucs after receiving the ball are unable to take advantage of the opportunity and are forced to punt to the Cardinals at the 2 min warning. Garvin receives the punt and darts through traffic for a 75 yard touchdown return to put the game at 21 â€“ 28 Cardinalsâ€¦â€¦ Whatâ€™s THIS â€¦ A booth review says that a hangnail went out of bounds on the return and it is called back to the 45 of the Cardinals. The Cardinals consider this possible good fortune due to the opportunity to use up more of the clock before giving the ball back before half time, however they only manage to get to the 13 yard line and take 35 secs off until they have to kick a 30 yard FG, Itâ€™s Good, Cardinals 24 â€“ Bucs 21. The Bucs with 1:15 left on the clock receive the squib kick and gain great field position with about 1 min left. They are able to drive down the field and find TE K. Winslow for a run and catch of 21 yards with 9 seconds left in the half, Cardinals 24 â€“ Bucs 28. HALF TIME The Bucs receive the ball and are unable to move due to their still struggling running game and are forced to punt. The Cardinals feeling a little cocky due to their last punt return opt not to call a fair catch and Garvin gets leveled by a Buc and MUFFS the return. Luckily a Cardinal was able to hop on it and retain possession. The Cardinals charge down the field and John Skeleton is able to find H. Nicks for a 31yd run and catch touchdown Cardinals 31 - Bucs 28. The Bucs receive the kickoff and are unable to capitalize they punt away (The Cardinals Fair Catch ) and are unable to move the ball and punt it back. Newly acquired safety Herney is able to get around his block too quickly for the return to respond and T. Mcbride of the Cardinals picks it up and runs it in for a 5 yd Touchdown Cardinals 38 â€“ Bucs 28. The Bucs receive the kick and begin committing to the pass but putting the ball in everyoneâ€™s hands until a 3rd and medium where Freeman tries to find someone in the flats and D. Rogers-Cromartie comes up with the ball and takes it the other way for 73 yards to end the quarter Cardinals 45 â€“ Bucs 28. End of 3rd The Bucs receive the ball and drive down the field almost at will until they find M. Bradley for a 14 yard TD Cardinals after only 37 seconds in the new quarter Cardinals 45 â€“ Bucs 35. The Cardinals now playing a little more conservatively (or so we thought) opt to run between the tackles a little more but find themselves in a third and long. Opting to be careful with the ball they throw a screen to Stephens â€“ Howling who somehow makes his way to a first down but then meets a DB from the Bucs and Fumbles the ball around midfieldâ€¦ (Yes the third fumble by a running backâ€¦). Bucs move the ball some but have a stalled drive and are forced to kick a 43 yard FG, itâ€™s good Cardinals 45 â€“ Bucs 38. Again the Cardinals playing too conservatively are forced to punt and the Bucs receive and drive down the field again, until D. Ward punches it in for a 3 yard run to tie it up with 1:10 to go Cardinals 45 â€“ Bucs 45. The Cardinals receive the ball and on their first play from scrimmage are able to find Garvin on a corner route for a big gain to get into FG range. Concerned about the fumbling troubles of their backs they decide to keep it in the air and spread the ball around until they find H. Nicks on a crossing pattern for his second touchdown of the game Cardinals 52 â€“ Bucs 45. Bucs receive with 39 secs left to play get 2 big completions but on the third play of the drive Kerry Rhodes intercepts to seal the game, Cardinals down the ball. Final Score Cardinals 52 â€“ Bucs 45 Player of the game has to be John Skeleton, not only was he able to pass for 4 tdâ€™s, no Intâ€™s, and 473 yards with a 66 completion percentage. He also was able to make up for the POOR performance of the Running Backs during the game, by completing passes to 7 different receivers on the day with 4 of them leading in catches with 4 each.. We expect great things to continue for John the rest of the way! Though the Cardinals were able to come out of the game with a win, and with A LOT of great play from many of their newly acquired people. In the same game that defensive leader Darnell Dockett came back we lost another leader Joey Porter for 3 weeks with a torn groinâ€¦ So our injury challenges remain. GG Pitts and Good Luck the rest of the way!