Rookie RB Doug Martin was expected to be a large part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense this season under first-year head coach Greg Schiano. After a slow start, Martin is starting to hit his stride and on Sunday, turned in a record setting effort against the Oakland Raiders. The player affectionately known as the “Muscle Hampster”, muscled his way to 251 yards on the ground and found the endzone four times.
Martin notched his place in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers record book with his effort becoming the best single game rushing effort in franchise history. His four touchdowns are the most by a running back in Tampa Bay history. Martin also found his way into the NFL record book with becoming the first player in league history to have three touchdown runs over 40 yards in the same game. He also becomes only the second player in league history to rush for over 250 yards and record four touchdowns in the same game.
Martin’s effort vaulted him into third place in the NFL rushing yardage totals. He now has 794 rushing yards and is behind Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch. If Martin continues to average 100 yards for the final eight games of the season, he will set the single season yardage record for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, eclipsing the mark of 1,544 yards set by powerback James Wilder in 1984.
What makes Martin’s recent performances so impressive is the fact he is running behind a makeshift offensive line for the Buccaneers. OG Davin Joseph was lost for the season early on and more recently, free agent acquisition OG Carl Nicks was placed on the injured reserve list while missing the remainder of the regular season.The Buccaneers have adjusted to their losses on the offensive line by adding a lead blocker for Martin, with FB Erik Lorig filling the role.
The Buccaneers had their bye week in week five and coming out of that week, the Buccaneers offense has been humming. Martin’s performance has increased each week and has now become the first Buccaneers running back to post 130 yards or more rushing in consecutive weeks.
Martin has surpassed expectations after just eight games this season. He was expected to play a large role in the Buccaneers offense and has not failed to deliver. He has nearly 80% of the Buccaneers rushing yards and when you add in his receiving yards, he has accounted for 1,039 total yards. The Buccaneers offense has recorded 3,095 total yards this season, so Martin has contributed to 33% of the Tampa Bay offense.
Along with Martin, the Buccaneers added S Mark Barron and LB Lavonte David in this year’s draft. It’s a draft class that’s shaping up nicely for first-year head coach Greg Schiano.