Bruce Arians knows Darrelle Revis generally is regarded as the best cornerback in the NFL, but the Arizona coach gives the nod to his own Patrick Peterson.
"It's not even close in my opinion," the first-year Cardinals coach said Sunday after Peterson had two interceptions in the closing minutes of a 13-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — one setting up a touchdown and other eliminating any chance of Mike Glennon leading a late comeback in the rookie quarterback's NFL debut.
"As a captain and leader of the defense, I wanted to be the guy to make the play for this team — to go in, give the offense a chance to score and give us an opportunity to win. ... I had my eyes in the backfield for a little bit, so I had him," Peterson said of his first interception, which he returned 11 yards to the Bucs 13. "I saw the quarterback looking my way. He's a young quarterback, so he's going to telegraph his throws."
Carson Palmer threw a TD pass on the ensuing play to Larry Fitzgerald, who used a triple-move on Revis to break free in the end zone to make it 10-10 with just more than 3 minutes to go.
The Cardinals forced a punt, then drove 29 yards with help from an unnecessary roughness penalty on safety Dashon Goldson to take the lead on Jay Feely's 27-yard field goal with 1:29 remaining.
Revis had a third-quarter interception and contributed to Palmer failing to even attempt to throw ball toward Fitzgerald in the first half. Arizona's seven-time Pro Bowl receiver finished with six catches for 68 yards, though.
"It was a battle back and forth. That's how it goes sometimes when players are out there," Revis said. "When you throw a punch, he throws a punch back. ... I tip my hat off to him. ... It was a triple-move route, a good route. You have to take punches that way, too."
Starting in place of the benched Josh Freeman, Glennon completed 24 of 43 passes for 193 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked twice and charged with a fourth-quarter fumble on a handoff to Doug Martin.
"Definitely a learning experience, but also a tough one to swallow," Glennon, a third-round draft pick out of North Carolina State, said.
Fives reasons the Cardinals (2-2) ended an extended road trip with a .500 record, and the Bucs (0-4) remained winless with their ninth loss in 10 games:
FREEMAN SAGA: The fifth-year pro was declared inactive for the game and was not in uniform, instead watching the game from a suite at Raymond James Stadium. Coach Greg Schiano called it a "mutual" decision. Freeman, who in an interview last week with ESPN said a trade might be the best solution for him and the Bucs, declined to comment. With the team entering a bye week, it will be interesting to see what happens next.
BANGED UP 'D': Despite missing four injured starters, Arizona's defense rebounded from giving up an early touchdown to keep the Cardinals in the game until the team's sputtering offense could get going. Martin entered the game as the second-leading rusher in the NFL, but was limited to 45 yards on 27 carries.
INSPIRING WORDS: With Arizona trailing 10-0 at halftime, LB Karlos Dansby addressed his teammates. The Cardinals played poorly in a 31-7 loss the previous week at New Orleans, then flew directly to Florida to practice in nearby Bradenton instead of flying home to prepare to face the Bucs.
"I just spoke to their heart, man. Just told them to go out here and play with some passion," Dansby said. "We weren't playing with enough passion in the first half, and that's all I told them. It was simple, right to the point."
PLAY IT SAFE: With Glennon making his first pro start, the Bucs rarely threw the ball down the field. He completed passes to nine different targets, however his longest completion was a throw in the flat to fullback Eric Lorig, who turned it into a 20-yard gain. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay finished with 80 yards rushing, 22 of them on a fake punt play.
PALMER STANDING: One of Arizona's problems has been protecting Palmer. He was sacked nine times in the first three weeks of the season. The Bucs sacked him on the first play Sunday, but didn't get to him again. He was pressured at times, but overcame a slow start to throw for 248 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
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