Doug Martin was a relatively unheralded player at Boise State, overshadowed by quarterback Kellen Moore. People are getting to know him very well now that he's having a breakout rookie season in the NFL.
Martin was the 31st overall pick by Tampa Bay last April, and that looks like a bargain now. He had 214 total yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings last week, and it turned out that was just a warmup.
Against the Raiders, Martin scored on runs of 45, 67 and 70 yards in the second half, and added a 1-yard touchdown with 1:49 left to seal the Buccaneers' 42-32 win. He showed off an impressive arsenal of skills on each run, with the shiftiness to make some tacklers miss, good open-field speed and the strength to break free when he had to beat someone.
Martin finished with 251 yards -- after getting a fairly pedestrian 31 yards on eight carries in the first half, and also losing 14 yards on Tampa Bay's final possession as the Buccaneers tried to eat some clock -- a franchise single-game record. His four rushing touchdowns is also a Buccaneers record.
Martin's third long touchdown gave him 244 yards, which broke the 32-year-old team record set by James Wilder. He had all those yards on just 18 carries and there was still 13:51 to play. Adrian Peterson's NFL record of 296 rushing yards in a game was in danger. Coincidentally, that record was set on Nov. 4, 2007, exactly six years before Martin's big day.
Oakland went on a long scoring drive after Martin's third touchdown, and after Tampa Bay recovered the onside kick, the Buccaneers oddly let LeGarrette Blount take the next series with an 11-point lead. Blount and Josh Freeman botched a handoff and the Raiders recovered, which made the decision to leave the hottest running back in the league on the sideline much more perplexing.
That might have cost Martin a shot at Peterson's record, but it didn't cost the Buccaneers the win. Oakland scored a touchdown and two-point conversion, and got the ball back with a chance to tie, but Carson Palmer threw a bad interception. Martin helped seal the win after Palmer's interception. He had a first-down run he almost took in for a touchdown, then came a first-and-goal run that he took inside the 1-yard line. The Buccaneers let him finish the drive with a 1-yard touchdown, his fourth of the half.
Martin will have a tough time duplicating what he did on Sunday, but if he keeps going anywhere near his pace over the last two weeks he has a shot at toppling some more records.
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