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Flying flags are still one confounding sight to Bucs

At least they have been consistent.

Penalties have sabotaged the Bucs hopes all season and did again Sunday in a woeful display of how not to function well as a team.

From the get-go, the penalty problem seemed prolific.

Reserve tackle Todd Steussie, who came in on second and 9, committed a false start penalty on the second play of the game. Two plays later, guard Matt Stinchcomb did the same.

"We started off wrong," right tackle Kenyatta Walker said. "That's the telling story. When you start off with two false starts just like that, man it just kind of messes up the chemistry of the whole thing. It's how the whole season has been. It's tough. It's real tough. And to still be in the game. I'm not a guy to point fingers and you can't."

The two penalties in the first four plays set a tone, as penalties did for the first 15 games of the season.

The Bucs were penalized eight times for 63 yards. And though they were outperformed in that department by the Cardinals (10 for 70 yards), the Bucs' mistakes seemed to carry more weight.

For instance, late in the second quarter the Cardinals were set to punt but the Bucs had 12 men on the field. The resulting 5-yard penalty gave Arizona a first down.

"You have to get off the field," coach Jon Gruden said. "You have to allow the punt return team, or vice versa, to get out there. Five or six or seven offensive penalties is just (terrible) and on running plays? It's on me and it's going to be very humiliating for me to see this tape.

"I don't want to be associated with penalties. We'll hire a full officiating crew again (for next season's training camp). We might double the damn total to try to get this thing straightened out."

There were personal foul penalties as well, such as Dexter Jackson's taunting penalty that took the Bucs out of field-goal position just before halftime.

"They are just one aspect of what has happened to us this season," guard Cosey Coleman said. "Not trying to minimize it, or maximize it. It's one area, it's been a problem, but we have had many problems. Did it hurt us? Yeah, because you're giving up yards, going backward and it's hurting you.

"Especially coming at the beginning of the game. It's one of those things, where you're shoo-shooing it and thinking it's nothing. But the way our season has gone it's become a multitude of things and explains the predicament we're in right now."