Mike Glennon's debut as the starting quarterback for Tampa Bay was going pretty well for awhile. And then Patrick Peterson ruined everything.
Glennon was less than four minutes from a win over Arizona -- one in which Glennon, save for a touchdown pass to Mike Williams, did little other than let his defense get the job done. He then, rather inexplicably, attempted to challenge Peterson on a 2nd-and-6 pass deep. Peterson jumped Williams' route for an interception inside the Bucs' red zone, Carson Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald for the game-tying TD one play later and the wheels came off again for the Bucs.
Arizona eventually took the lead with 1:29 left, after a Tampa Bay possession ended with Glennon taking a sack at his own 1. Peterson then iced the victory he helped create, intercepting an overthrow from Glennon in the waning seconds.
Glennon took over Freeman's starting job this week (and Freeman, after reportedly skipping multiple team meetings, was inactive Sunday). He looked very much a rookie for most of the day, finishing with a 4.5 yards-per-attempt average through the air and an unimpressive 55.7 QB rating.
The Buccaneers have been in disarray for weeks now, thanks in no small part to the fallout of Freeman's contentious relationship with head coach Greg Schiano. Glennon's debut and a home matchup with a beatable Cardinals team appeared as if it would provide the elixir the Bucs needed, as they grabbed a 10-0 halftime lead. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, the game did not stay on that promising course.
Glennon had his work cut out for him to step into the lineup as a starter. A third-round selection in this year's draft, Glennon struggled throughout the preseason -- 33-of-70 with three touchdowns and four interceptions. The consensus was that he was a bit of a developmental prospect, one who would need a year or two to acclimate himself to the NFL level.
Freeman's implosion erased any time Tampa Bay hoped to buy for Glennon, though. There may be brighter days ahead, but there is a limit to what the Bucs can expect from their rookie in the immediate future. Those confinements were on display Sunday. Glennon can take a few shots down the field, but he'll be more comfortable in intermediate spots -- he did not complete a pass longer than 20 yards. He'll also take some sacks and make a costly mistake here or there. And they do not get much more costly or painful than the pair of miscues Glennon chalked up down the stretch Sunday.