Buccaneers vs Cardinals: Week 6 Winners and Losers
The Offensive Line
One of the pleasant surprises this season, the Buccaneers offensive line has come together as one of the real strengths of the team. They held the Cardinals to just one sack on the day, and paved the way for a solid game from Doug Martin, who scored a touchdown on 53-yards.
Ryan Fitzpatrick managed to keep the offense afloat with Jameis Winston sidelined, but that was only possible because of the offensive line in front of him.
Donovan Smith had a poorly timed penalty late in the game that brought back a big gain by Martin, but with a few other exceptions he continued his rock-solid third year campaign along with fellow tackle Demar Dotson. Ali Marpet‘s ugly snaps weren’t a problem either, which was encouraging.
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The Buccaneers continued to get bailed out by #24. Though he was far from perfect on Sunday getting turned around and juked out on a few occasions, Grimes was the Bucs only hope in pass coverage. His best play came on a second half interception deep down the field, and he later on had a crucial pass breakup late in the fourth quarter on a pass intended for Larry Fitzgerald.
Carson Palmer and the Cardinal receivers had their way with the Bucs pass defense much like the last few weeks, but it continues to be the backups and supporting cast of Grimes that are exposed. It’s a shame that Vernon Hargreaves hasn’t managed to learn from the all star veteran as of yet.
The return of all-pro linebacker Lavonte David from an ankle injury led many to believe that the Bucs would be able to stamp out the Cardinal running game and force them into a one dimensional attack. That did not end up being the case.
Adrian Peterson ran roughshod over the Bucs, and like his teammate Brent Grimes, David was a member of a unit that played awful.
David had his hand in that without question, but he also had several big plays to help swing the game late. In the fourth quarter we got vintage Lavonte David as he ripped the ball free from Larry Fitzgerald and returned it for a touchdown. At the end, he finished with three tackles, two forced fumbles, a touchdown, and a tackle for loss.