Doug Martin Leads Buccaneers Past Raiders with Record-Breaking Performance
Doug Martin went from St. Mary's High School in Northern California to Boise State in part because Pac 10 schools didn't want him. He's a Buccaneer because Tampa Bay coveted him.
On Sunday, in just his eighth NFL game, Martin showcased his talent in Oakland setting franchise records with 251 yards on the ground and four rushing scores. Tampa Bay traded up to select Martin with the 31st pick in May's draft. His monster game helped the Buccaneers get to 4-4 on the year. It also served notice that Tampa's offense is among the league’s best.
The Buccaneers' 218 points last season ranked ahead of only five teams in the league. Tampa lost their final 10 games and managed 20 points or more in only two of those losses. Head Coach Raheem Morris was shown the door when the team was outscored 165-69 over the final four games.
Since starting this season 1-3, Tampa Bay has won three of four averaging 36 points a game in the process. Martin totaled 131 yards in a win against the Chiefs October 14. He averaged more than six yards per touch October 21 facing the Saints. His coming out party in Minnesota, a week ago Thursday, featured 135 yards on the ground, 79 in the air, and two touchdowns. Sunday he joined former Elway era Bronco RB Mike Anderson as the only player in league history with 250 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground in the same game.
Touchdown runs of 45, 67, and 70 yards were all needed Sunday for a Bucs team that allowed Raider QB Carson Palmer to throw for 414 yards and four touchdowns. Martin is now third in the league in rushing yards, and his seven scores rank him behind only Houston's Arian Foster.
Martin's emergence has eased the pressure on the Tampa passing game. With defenses now having to respect the run, WR Vincent Jackson has been able to average 22.9 yards per catch, best among NFL wideouts with at least 15 catches. Meanwhile the tandem of Jackson and Mike Williams have amassed 1214 receiving yards, second to only Denver's Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker among wide receiver duos.
When Greg Schiano took over as the head coach at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights were coming off a one win season. He improved the team incrementally, and when Ray Rice became the feature back, Rutgers achieved a national ranking and 10 win season for the first time in 30 years. It appears Schiano has his Rice as a rookie coach in Tampa Bay. Doug Martin is not only wanted, he is the most valuable asset the Bucs have.