As Dirk Koetter leads the Bucs to Arizona for Sunday's game and a shot at an unlikely 0-2 start, there's a long history -- more curious than truly relevant to Sunday's game -- between Koetter and Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, as well as previous meetings with Arizona.
That goes back nearly 15 years, but before we get to that: Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, there have been 85 games in which an NFL team doesn't throw a touchdown pass and throws at least five interceptions. In 84 of those games, that team has lost, as you might expect. The single exception in 46 seasons? The Falcons -- with Mike Smith as coach and Koetter as offensive coordinator -- beating the Cardinals in 2012.
Ryan threw a career-high five picks and Atlanta still won 23-19, with Smith's defense holding Arizona to 178 yards, the year before Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer would arrive -- the Cards used four different starting quarterbacks and lost 11 of their last 12.
In 127 career NFL games, Ryan has thrown for four or more interceptions just twice, and both came against Arizona, with Koetter as his OC -- in 2013, the Falcons lost 27-13 to Arizona as Ryan threw four picks -- in 61 attempts (remember this number) while throwing for 301 yards. The Falcons got another shot at Arizona in 2014, and Ryan played well -- 30-for-41 for 361 yards and two touchdowns in a 29-18 win that saw Atlanta jump out to a 17-0 lead. Palmer was injured, we should point out, and Drew Stanton took the loss at quarterback for Arizona.
Palmer has a history with the Bucs -- he's 1-3 in four starts against Tampa Bay, and of all the NFL teams he's faced four or more times, he only has worse records against two -- 1-5 against the Broncos and 0-5 against the Patriots. Of all the active quarterbacks in the NFL who have faced the Bucs four or more times, that's the worst winning percentage -- his. 250 is the only losing record among 10 such quarterbacks. His numbers aren't terrible -- 8 TDs and 8 INTs against the Bucs, and he was able to beat Tampa Bay in his last meeting, a 13-10 win with Arizona in 2013, though he had more INTs (2) than TDs (1).
The cool thing is that Koetter has been going up against Palmer since 2001, when both were in the Pac-10, with Koetter as head coach at Arizona State and Palmer at USC. In 2001, his Trojans beat Koetter's Sun Devils 48-17 -- he went 18-for-26 for 295 yards and three touchdowns; a year later, it was a 34-13 USC win and he threw for 214 and two scores, giving him five TDs and no interceptions in the two meetings.
Again, none of this has much impact on Sunday's game other than to show that Koetter and Smith have more familiarity with Arizona's personnel than you might expect on a trip across the country like the Bucs have this weekend.