GLENDALE, Ariz. — Well, that was depressing. The Bucs ran into a buzz saw Sunday, a Cardinals team that played like it was still ticked off about losing its season opener to the Brady-less and Gronk-less Patriots.
And that buzz saw cut right through the Bucs, who will not threaten the perfect 1972 Dolphins after all.
A week after beating the Falcons in Atlanta, the Bucs crash landed back on Earth with a 40-7 loss to the Cardinals. Crash landed with a thud.
So this is what a good team looks like. (I'm talking about the Cardinals, not the Bucs. Obviously.) And here's what a bad team against a good team looks like:
Jameis Winston was awful. The defense was awful. Everything was awful. And that includes a missed field goal by Roberto Aguayo. Tampa Bay is home for its first regular-season 2016 game next Sunday, but it comes home wounded. Let's look back at Sunday with our weekly report card:
CHEMISTRY IS THE HARDEST SUBJECT
A lot of things went wrong for the Bucs, and pointing to one thing is like blaming one rain drop for a flood. But one distressing thing was the total lack of chemistry between QB Jameis Winston and WR Vincent Jackson.
For the second week in a row, Winston threw an interception because he and Jackson couldn't get on the same page. Against Atlanta, it appeared that Jackson might have run the wrong pattern, but Sunday, Winston misfired. Even coach Dirk Koetter blamed Winston for that interception as the second-year QB threw well behind Jackson.
Jackson caught four passes for 44 yards but was targeted five other times. That included a drop that probably cost the Bucs points. So who is to blame? Jameis says Jameis.
"He's a vet, and I got to get on his level," Winston said. "Vincent is Vincent. I'm the young guy. I have to be able to get him the ball. … It's my fault. He's just running the route. I got to get him the ball."
This was still a ball game late in the first half. Just over three minutes left in the second quarter and the Bucs trailed only 10-0. They had the Cardinals pinned back in their zone facing third and long. But Arizona ended up converting for the first down, and that set forth a series of events that essentially buried the Bucs. Arizona put together a 68-yard drive, all through the air, that ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from QB Carson Palmer to WR Michael Floyd.
Tampa Bay got the ball back with 1:30 left in the first half and needed one of two things to happen: a scoring drive or time killed off the clock. The Bucs got neither, going three-and-out and eating up all of 17 seconds. Did you get that? Seventeen!
Arizona had plenty of time to go down and score another touchdown, this one on a 51-yard pass from Palmer to WR Jaron Brown.
In less than three minutes, the Bucs went from being down 10-0 to 24-0. Ouch.
TAKEAWAY OF THE TAKEAWAYS
"No. 1 stat in football." That's what Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Sunday. Know what he's talking about? Turnover ratio. In two games the Bucs have yet to force a turnover. They themselves turned the ball over five times Sunday. With one turnover last week, the Bucs are minus-6 on the season.
What a weekend for FSU and Bucs announcer Gene Deckerhoff. First, on Saturday he called Florida State's embarrassing 63-20 loss to Louisville. Then he flew all the way to Arizona to call the Bucs' 40-7 loss to the Cardinals. That's a 103-27 weekend on the negative side. And both losses came against teams nicknamed Cardinals. The only people who had a worse weekend than Mean Gene? Quarterbacks from Florida State.
Someone tell us again why Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is thinking about retiring after this season. He had six catches for 81 yards. The guy was is and always will be world class.
GRADE: Easy A.