The Cardinals' offense wasn't good most of the game Sunday, but Larry Fitzgerald (smiling) caught a TD pass late and the unit could hug Patrick Peterson and the defense for keeping the team in the game.
Every time he starts a Monday press conference, Bruce Arians opens with a monologue touching on many of the topics everyone expects the day after the game.
The day after the Cards beat the Buccaneers, 13-10, Arians talked about how it was one of the best defensive games his team had played. He talked a lot about the outstanding special teams play, singling out kicker Jay Feely and punter Dave Zastudil.
Then, Arians addressed the offense.
"It was putrid," he said.
Asked if it was normal for teams to take this long to pick up the offense, Arians said no.
"I haven't seen it take this long ever," he said.
The coaching staff has looked at the playbook to see if it is asking too much of the players, but the determination was no, Arians added.
Arians lamented that he was sounding repetitive, but said the only thing the Cards could do is keep working in practice. Gaining yards hasn't been a big issue. Converting third downs has. Amazingly, the Cardinals have converted just two of 21 third-down tries in their two wins, and Arians sees issues in a lot of spots – dropped passes, bad throws, shoddy protection, poor routes – that could change the third-down dynamic. Sunday, the Cards were 1-for-10.
The Cards have also maneuvered their way into many manageable third downs in which they don't pick up the first, which may be the most troubling thing for Arians.
A total of 20 points in two games isn't going to be enough. The Cards hope to change it with this week's home game against a Carolina team that shut out the Giants in its last game. On the good side, the Cardinals did pile up 209 yards of offense in the second half against the Bucs, only short-circuited by two Carson Palmer interceptions.
"It's part of growing as a unit," Palmer said. "A new system, new players, there's not a lot of continuity, really anywhere.
"We will continue to get better."
TROUBLE WITH TAMPA ISSUES
Arians was asked his opinion on a pair of questionable plays by the Buccaneers Sunday. The first was the hit by safety Dashon Goldson on wide receiver Jaron Brown near the sideline at the end of the game. Brown held on to the ball for a 19-yard catch and Goldson was flagged for unnecessary roughness. Goldson has been flagged and fined many times for similar illegal hits, but the league confirmed Monday it would not suspend Goldson.
Asked his opinion of the hit, Arians said "Totally illegal, just like he always does. Obviously the (fine) money doesn't affect him, a $100,000 fine. There could've been three (flags on Goldson) in that game."
As for the Bucs' defense charging hard into the line at the end of the game when the Cards were simply trying to kneel on the ball and run out the clock, Arians didn't say much but did not look happy.
"That's their style," Arians said. "I have no comment on it."
The Cardinals lost four players during the game Sunday: DT Darnell Dockett (groin), LB Jasper Brinkley (groin), G Daryn Colledge (leg) and LB Vic So'oto (concussion). Arians did not have updates, but said all the team's injuries from Sunday were "minor" even though not everyone is expected to practice Wednesday.
LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) is expected to return to practice this week and DT Dan Williams, who has been absent after the death of his father, is also expected back.