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Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon (8) hands off the ball to running back Doug Martin (22) during the first half of the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Play: The Single Moment That Lost the Game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4

Read previous editions of “The Play” for Week: 1 | 2 | 3

For the entire first half and much of the second half of the Buccaneers Week 4 matchup with the Cardinals it looked like the Bucs were in control. They scored early to take the lead and held that lead throughout much of the game. But then something happened, and the game went from what looked like the Buccaneers first win to the loss number four. That moment is “The Play.”

The Buccaneers had the ball at the Arizona 48. The drive started at the Tampa Bay 21 and the Bucs moved the ball via short passes and a 15 yard horse collar penalty. All looked to be going well after Brian Leonard made an excellent play to get the third first down of the drive. The play call on first and 10 was a run up the middle to Doug Martin. Mike Glennon took the  snap, turned, and put the ball in the belly of Martin. Martin never secured it, and the Cardinals recovered the fumble.

Prior to the fumble the Cardinals only had one drive where they ran more than six plays, and were pitching a shutout. The Buccaneer defense was stifling to say the least. But after they were put in this compromising position, it all seemed to fall apart. After the fumble the Cardinals scored 13 point on four drives and the Buccaneers 10 point lead evaporated into a deficit they couldn’t recover from.

The play changed the mindset of the Cardinal team. Their offense was demoralized, they couldn’t do anything. Then the turnover happened and it’s like they were given life. They kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive and wound up scoring the game tying touchdown one play after the Buccaneers second turnover.

Over the first three games, turnovers were more a reason why the Buccaneers were in the game rather than why they lost them. That couldn’t be further from the case against Arizona. If the Buccaneers defense was given a full field to defend the whole afternoon, they probably don’t allow a single point. And up until the Martin fumble they were. But then it all went downhill… again. And that’s why it’s this week’s winner of “The Play.”

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