WANTED: One Decent Quarterback. Arizona Cardinals Blow Improbable Late-Game Lead Against Tampa Bay
Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Max Hall threw his first NFL touchdown in the Cards' 38-35 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. It was a short, three-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald to give the team an early, 7-point lead.
It was a nice moment -- following the touchdown, Fitzgerald's first move wasn't a gaudy celebration. Rather, he sought out Hall to give him the ball. In hindsight, that should have been the last time Hall touched a football.
On the Cardinal's very next drive, Max Hall got all Max Hall, and lobbed up an interception to Tampa Bay linebacker Geno Hayes, who ran it back 41 yards for a touchdown.
Hall briefly redeemed himself, orchestrating a 74-yard drive ending in a one-yard, Beanie Wells rushing touchdown.
Tampa Bay bounced back with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams to tie the game.
With the score tied at 14, Hall took the field to try and give the Cards a lead going into the half. It didn't happen -- instead, Hall threw another interception, this time to Aqib Talib, which was also returned for a 40-plus-yard touchdown.
In our opinion, the interceptions negate Hall's lone touchdown pass and he now has -1 NFL touchdowns.
Hall's three unimpressive starts -- including yesterday's two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first half -- would normally be enough to guarantee a quarterback a seat on the bench for the rest of the season. That, of course, is assuming a team's other option for QB isn't Derek Anderson. But Anderson got the call and Hall took a seat on the bench towards the end of the second quarter. Coach Ken Whisenhunt won't say who will start next week, but we'll get to that later.
Anderson was supposed to the Cards' starter this season after Kurt Warner retired and Matt Leinart was kicked to the curb. But Anderson's sucked, and a series of awful starts put him behind the clipboard at the beginning of the last three games. But yesterday, Anderson looked good -- briefly.
Late in the third quarter, the Bucs extended their 24-14 lead to a 31-14 lead, thanks to a 15-yard touchdown run by running back LeGarrette Blount.
By the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Cards had a 35-31 lead after three touchdowns, the third of which was a rare touchdown pass from Anderson to Fitzgerald.
Anderson seemed amped-up after the go-ahead touchdown -- fist-pumpin', and all. For a brief moment we thought "hey, the former pro-bowler decided to show up today, not the guy who overthrows his receivers and makes horrible decisions when pressured -- maybe this season is back on track."
Unfortunately, there was still about 10 minutes left in the game and Derek Anderson is still Derek Anderson.
On the next drive, Tampa Bay scored another touchdown to go ahead 38-35.
On the Cards' next drive, following Anderson's confidence-boosting TD pass to Fitzgerald, he threw an interception on the first play.
Kerri Rhodes blocked a Tampa Bay field goal to keep the game within three, and give the offense a chance to tie it up.
Anderson led a 33-yard drive to put the Cards at the Tampa Bay 20-yard-line with about 3 minutes left to play.
Almost on cue, Anderson threw his second interception of the game on a rushed pass to Fitzgerald, who was in triple coverage.
"We're in field goal range and we've got two minutes. Worst case you think you're going to get a tie," Whisenhunt said after the game. "We can't force it in there. Throw it away, come back down and we still have a chance to get in and win the game."
Whisenhunt says he isn't sure who will start at quarterback next week
"I'm not going to have any decisions on that right now," he said. "The one thing I'll tell you is we're not getting what we need out of the quarterback position."
The Cards head to Minnesota next week to face the Vikings. For more Cards info click here.
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