Bucs Stop Cardinals
Sunday, November 4, 2007; 4:40 PM
TAMPA, Fla. -- An old, trusty ally has shown up in support of Tampa Bay's bid to get back to the playoffs.[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Stingy defense was the team's hallmark for most of the past decade, and it was the key Sunday as the Buccaneers surpassed their victory total for last season with a 17-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Jeff Garcia threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Joey Galloway, while Earnest Graham scored on a 2-yard run and had his first 100-yard rushing performance as a pro for the Bucs (5-4), whose 4-12 record a year ago was the franchise's worst since 1991.
In addition to Tanard Jackson's second-quarter interception, which set up a field goal, the Bucs defense limited the Cardinals to one first down and 78 yards total offense in the opening half.
Arizona, averaging 337.3 yards per game, finished with a season-low 195 but still had a chance to force overtime when Kurt Warner trotted onto the field following a Tampa Bay punt with 2:39 to go.
The hopes for a comeback ended when Warner's deep sideline throw was intercepted near midfield by Jermaine Phillips, who appeared to only get one foot down before going out of bounds.
The Cardinals (3-5) were out of time outs, though, and couldn't challenge the play.
Graham, who became the starter because of injuries to Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and Michael Pittman, rushed for 124 yards on 34 carries to help the Bucs offense dominate time of possession.
Tampa Bay had the ball for more than 13 minutes of the third quarter, but wasted an opportunity to put the game out of reach when a 19-play, 86-yard drive that lasted almost 12 minutes resulted in a 26-yard missed field goal.
Warner drove the Cardinals 80 yards to trim Arizona's deficit to 17-10 on Edgerrin James' 3-yard run with 7:30 left. Arizona got the ball back two more times, but was unable to mount a threat.
While the Cardinals believe their record doesn't reflect how well they've played the first half of the season, they began the day leading the NFL in penalties and penalty yards and had also turned the ball over eight times in losses to Carolina and Washington in their previous two games.
Galloway's TD reception gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead, and Jackson's interception and a subsequent 15-yard face mask penalty that gave Tampa Bay the ball at the Cardinals 17 set up Matt Bryant's 32-yard field goal to make it 10-3.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, went six possessions without a first down after Warner's 47-yard completion to Larry Fitzgerald led to a 47-yard field goal that Neil Rackers converted less than three minutes into the game.
Arizona went three-and-out on five of those possessions, and Jackson's interception ended the other. The Cardinals have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter this season.
Warner completed 10 of 30 passes for 172 yards and two interceptions, however the Cardinals only ran for 23 yards on 12 carries. Fitzgerald had four catches for 95 yards, while Anquan Boldin was limited to 40 yards on three receptions.
The Bucs controlled the ball for just over 43 minutes, running 77 offensive plays to Arizona's 42.
Garcia, rebounding from throwing his first three interceptions of the season during a one-point loss to Jacksonville, was 18-of-28 for 196 yards. Ike Hillard had seven catches for 70 yards, and Galloway had five for 84 yards.