TAMPA — If there was a bright spot for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during yet another dreary loss, it was the improved play of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon in his second pro start.
The third-round draft pick out of North Carolina State remained composed throughout Sunday’s 31-20 setback against Philadelphia, completing 26 of 43 passes for 273 yards, including a pair of touchdown throws to Vincent Jackson.
Glennon was sacked twice and threw one interception, but that early third-quarter pick comes with an asterisk.
“That’s my fault,’’ said wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, who failed to complete his route before Bradley Fletcher intercepted at the Eagles 29-yard line. “I’ve got to protect my quarterback on that play. He trusted me to come across the field and make that play, so I have to finish. That’s on me.’’
Making his NFL debut before the bye week, Glennon tossed a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions as Arizona rallied for a 13-10 triumph. He used the extra time to study film and work on his timing with Jackson, who caught nine passes Sunday.
“Mike stands in there with great confidence,’’ Jackson said. “He’s going to be a great leader for this football team. Just his command of the game is impressive. They gave us a lot of different looks and he made a lot of great decisions.’’
Glennon displayed an accurate right arm and also scrambled three times for 20 yards. He made some strong throws on the run and generally hit his targets in stride.
“Yeah, I felt more comfortable today,’’ Glennon said. “It kind of reminded me of college, when I made a jump from the first game to the second. I think I will continue to improve as the season progresses.’’
Rookie tight end Tim Wright, who more than doubled his total with seven catches Sunday, noticed the growth spurt.
“He’s a very poised quarterback,’’ Wright said. “He does a great job of leading the guys in the huddle and keeping everyone calm.’’
Tampa Bay’s passing game had to overcome the absence of No. 2 receiver Mike Williams, who tweaked a sore hamstring during the week and didn’t dress.
Glennon showed his touch while delivering a perfect fade pass to Jackson for a 1-yard score and put some heat on passes over the middle in between defenders.
“I thought Mike did a lot of good things,’’ said Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who made the switch from Josh Freeman to Glennon in Week 4. “I thought he played well. I think we missed some opportunities, some of them self-inflicted.’’
Underwood was particularly distraught after the game because he thought Glennon deserved a better fate.
“He played well, man,’’ said Underwood, who failed to catch a pass despite being targeted four times. “You can see him coming along as an NFL quarterback. He’s going to be a good player in this league. He just has to stay at it and keep studying. He’s going to be fine, and we’ll continue to follow his lead.’’
Barring injury, Glennon figures to have 11 more games to show a reeling organization whether he is Tampa Bay’s quarterback moving forward.
Sunday’s matchup was a positive step in that quest.
“Mike Glennon has what it takes,’’ Bucs left tackle Donald Penn said. “He’s confident in what he can do, and the best part is this kid can back it up.’’