Martin sets Bucs' rushing record in Oakland homecoming

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin celebrated his Northern California homecoming with a record-setting day Sunday against the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum.

Martin rushed for a team-record 251 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries, leading the Bucs to a 42-32 victory over the Raiders. He broke James Wilder's record of 219 yards that had stood since 1983.

"I've got to step back and just look at it," Martin said. "It's surreal right now. I'm just doing my job. I'm honored."

Martin was born in Oakland and lived there for the first five years of his life before moving to the Northern California city of Stockton. He had more than 60 family members, friends and former teammates in the stands, cheering him on.

"It means everything to me, having my friends and family out here supporting me," said Martin, a first-round draft pick this year out of Boise State. "This is an awesome feeling."

Martin scored on runs of 45 and 67 yards in the third quarter and 70 yards and 1 yard in the fourth, and the Bucs roared back from a 10-7 halftime deficit for a big win.

The Bucs improved to 4-4, winning for the third time in their past four games.

The Raiders fell to 3-5 and lost running back Darren McFadden to an ankle injury midway through the second quarter.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen said X-rays on McFadden's ankle were negative, but he wasn't sure the extent of the injury or whether McFadden would be available to play next week against the Ravens in Baltimore.

Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer completed 39 of 61 passes for 414 yards and four touchdowns, but he was intercepted three times.

"Obviously, to come back and then to not finish a team, it was difficult," Palmer said. "But we fought, showed a lot of heart, but didn't make enough plays when it was all said and done."

The Raiders waged a furious late comeback, overcoming much of a 28-10 third-quarter deficit to pull within 35-32 with 3:51 left to play on Palmer's 13-yard touchdown pass to fullback Marcel Reece and two-point pass to Juron Criner.

But after the Raiders' defense forced a punt, Bucs safety Ahmad Black intercepted a Palmer misfire and returned 34 yards to the Oakland 22. Martin's 1-yard touchdown run increased the Bucs' lead to 42-32 with 1:49 remaining.

"Mistakes like that you can't overcome, and you can't make, and me being the quarterback, you can't do that," Palmer said. "I can't throw that ball. You just need to take a sack sometimes if things are off of the same page and come back the next play."

Bucs free safety Ronde Barber credited Palmer for making the game closer than "it probably should have been" down the stretch.

"I think we knew coming into this game how good Carson had been playing in the two-minute drill," Barber said. "They were basically in it for 20 minutes, 20 minutes of clock time. Just made it difficult. We just needed to make a play or two with all that drop-back pass they were doing. He just made some good throws. He's a good player. He's been around a long time. He understands how to deal with that type of player, but at the end of the day, we came up with two turnovers in their last two possessions, and that ultimately won the game."

The Bucs trailed 10-7 at halftime but quickly moved back ahead early in the third quarter when Martin broke loose for a 45-yard touchdown run. Martin shot over left guard, angled toward the left sideline and outran Raiders safeties Matt Giordano and Tyvon Branch, putting Tampa Bay ahead 14-10 with 12:09 left in the third.

Just minutes later, quarterback Josh Freeman and the Bucs went back to work. On third-and-5 from the Tampa Bay 45, Freeman zipped a pass along the right sideline to wide receiver Mike Williams, who cut back across the field to the Raiders' 18 for a gain of 37. Williams, as he and Bucs wideout Vincent Jackson did all day, burned Raiders cornerback Michael Huff on the catch.

The Bucs marched to the Raiders' 4, and on second-and-goal, Williams beat Huff in the right corner of the end zone. Freeman hit him with a 4-yard touchdown pass that gave Tampa Bay a 21-10 lead with 7:12 remaining in the third.

The Bucs got the ball back when cornerback Leonard Johnson intercepted a Palmer pass at the Tampa Bay 32. Two plays later, Martin shot over left tackle and sprinted 67 yards for a touchdown, putting the Bucs up 28-10 with 2:15 left in the third.

Martin said coach Greg Schiano gave him a tip that helped him bust loose for multiple long touchdown runs.

"A few of those I got through the line and kind of stumbled and my head went down. Coach kept telling me, 'Get your head up, get your head up, because that will increase your balance.' So after that, I kept my head up and kept my balance, and I was off to the races."

The Raiders cut the lead to 28-17 early in the fourth on Palmer's 4-yard pass to tight end Brandon Myers, who made his first career touchdown catch.

On Tampa Bay's next play from scrimmage, Martin ran wild again, sprinting 70 yards for his third touchdown of day as the Bucs extended their lead to 35-17.

"We didn't tackle well," Allen said. "I thought they did a good job of blocking. I thought (Martin) did a great job of running. I think we had an opportunity to make a few plays and missed some tackles, and when you miss tackles on that guy, he takes them for big gains."

Myers' second career touchdown catch, this one on a 1-yard pass from Palmer, cut Tampa Bay's lead to 35-24 with 9:48 to play.

The Raiders got the ball back when Freeman and running back LeGarrette Blount botched the exchange, and defensive tackle Richard Seymour recovered at the Oakland 35. That set up the Reece touchdown and Criner two-pointer.

After pulling within three points, the Raiders fizzled.

All that was left was for the Bucs to try to find new ways to praise Martin, the reigning NFC Offensive Rookie of the Month.

"He's turned into a heck of a player here these last two weeks" Barber said. "He's really jumped onto the scene, just the way he's handled the pressure that he's had to be the main guy here in our offense these past couple of weeks. It's impressive, man."

NOTES: Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, Calif., at the start of the second half due to an accelerated heart rate.. ... The Bucs had three interceptions, one each by Leonard Johnson, Black and cornerback E.J. Biggers. ... Freeman threw two touchdown passes, but his streak of games with three TDs ended at three. ... Giordano suffered a hamstring injury midway through the second half and didn't return. ... Raiders backup running back Mike Goodson, who replaced McFadden, left the game with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. ... Jackson had two catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. ... Wilder set the Buccaneers' previous single-game rushing record against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 6, 1983.
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