For a week, it felt better. For a week, you could dream. For a week, the Tampa Bay Bucs were undefeated and talking about better days.
All of that ended Sunday, when the Bucs were clobbered in a 40-7 loss to Arizona. Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston threw four interceptions and fumbled once in the loss, and the Cardinals erupted for 24 points in the second quarter and never looked back.
“I did not do a good enough job of getting these guys ready to go,” said Dirk Koetter. “(We) turned it over way, way, way too many times. We can’t get beat like that in turnovers and expect to win. We got a reality check today.”
The Cardinals, who lost in the NFC Conference championship last season, held Tampa Bay’s rushing attack to only 85 yards. Running back Doug Martin left the game early after tweaking a hamstring, and backup Charles Sims averaged only 2.7 yards per carry.
That left much of the load on the arm of Winston, whose receivers were playing against one of the best secondaries in the league. Against them, Winston hit only 27 of 52 passes for 243 yards. Besides his turnovers, Winston was sacked three times.
Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer hit 18 of 31 for 208 yards and three touchdowns. He threw two touchdown passes in the final 186 seconds of the first half.
The official statistics sheet did not have Lavonte David with a tackle the entire afternoon.
The Bucs play their home opener next week against the Los Angeles Rams.