Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

first_imgArizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) celebrates a first and goal against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Arians didn’t think his football team mirrored its coach’s no-risk-it, no-biscuit mentality last week in a loss to the New England Patriots.“It was too much holding your breath,” Arians said, “wanting it too bad.”That wasn’t a problem in a 40-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.“I thought we cut it loose today,” Arians said. The Cardinals needed one of those games after the weight of preseason expectations came crashing down in Week 1 against the Patriots.“We felt like it was a reality check last week, losing that game,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “The biggest thing was … all of us just to personally challenge ourselves and I thought we did that today.”Nobody is going to run away and hide after two weeks of the NFL season, but the NFC West and the greater NFC have obliged the Cardinals’ Week-1 stumble by feeding the league’s desire for parity.The Cardinals left the stadium on Sunday evening knowing they would be tied with every other NFC West opponent at 1-1. Barring a tie between the Packers and Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football, only the New York Giants, the Sunday night winner and possibly the Philadelphia Eagles (if they beat Chicago on Monday night) will boast 2-0 records after just two weeks of football.With a date against the struggling Bills up next in Buffalo, the Cardinals have the chance to get on a roll — especially since they look like the Cardinals everyone expected to see when the season began.“We definitely had our swagger back this week,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “Today, we were a little loose and it was fun. We’ve got to remember to have fun.” Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact That was evident across the board.A defense that couldn’t solve first-time NFL starter Jimmy Garoppolo last week intercepted Bucs QB Jameis Winston four times, recovered another fumble and limited Tampa to 306 yards. Recent trade acquisition Marcus Cooper had two of those interceptions, including a pick-six late in the third quarter that all but sealed the game at 33-7.Aside from a missed extra point, the Cardinals’ special teams were excellent with Pro Bowler Justin Bethel setting the tone with a big hit on the team’s first punt — six days after his coach called him out for not playing up to his abilities.An offense that hadn’t looked right since a Dec. 27 win over the Packers rolled up 416 yards with running David Johnson accounting for 143 of those, receiver Larry Fitzgerald catching six balls for 81 more yards and career touchdown No. 101, and quarterback Carson Palmer completing 18 of 31 passes to nine different receivers for 308 yards and three touchdowns without an interception for a 124.1 passer rating.“We were just on fire on defense, we were aggressive on offense, we were nasty and extremely aggressive up front,” Palmer said. “Pockets were just perfect all day. It was just one of those games.” Comments   Share   Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Feeling better, Cardinals Nation? The march toward Super Bowl LI is back on track after a temporary and unexpected delay.Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter – / 44last_img

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