The Touchdown Hamster: Analysis of Every Doug Martin Touchdown from 2012

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is a long, boring time with no football to watch. So to help pass the time, and to get a bit of insight as to the successes and failures of the 2012 Buccaneers, I broke down film of every Josh Freeman touchdown and interception in 2012. But I didn’t stop there. I took the time to watch all twelve of Doug Martin’s scores, as well, and I have the breakdown for you here. Have an idea for another feature like this that you’d like to see? Leave a note in the comments. Let’s start with Dough Martin’s first NFL touchdown…

Touchdown 1, Week Two versus the New York Giants

Martin’s first score was a great look into what made him such a dynamic runner in his first NFL season. The Buccaneers came out lined up in an obvious run formation, with a heavy focus on blocking to the right, with tight ends and the fullback shaded to that side. The play was intended to be run off the right guard, closer to the middle of the defense, but the Giants got a great push and prevented a running lane from opening. But Martin was not going to settle for a short loss or a play of no gain, and spun away from the collapsing middle of the Buccaneer offensive line, and found himself in open space, as the Giants failed to keep contain on the short side of the field, where the Buccaneers had much less blocking. Martin always seemed to fight for more yards, regardless of the situation, and in this situation it paid off with six points from six yards out.

Touchdown 2, Week Seven versus the New Orleans Saints

This score was just a bit longer than the last one. The Buccaneers came out in a fairly basic formation, with blockers loaded to the left side of the offense. The call was a delayed handoff, something the Buccaneers went with often in 2012. The delay on the handoff gave the line plenty of time to open up a lane for Martin to run through, and he did just that, bursting through a gap in the defense and getting to the second level. He had to shrug off the attempted tackle of a defensive back, and then was off to the races, and there was no on who could catch him. The play was made possible by a pair of blocks from Erik Lorig and Carl Nicks, who blocked the right and left side of the running lane respectively to allow Martin a path to gain speed and momentum.

Touchdown 3, Week 8 versus the Minnesota Vikings

In the game that most view as Martin’s breakout performance, the Bucs’ rookie runner got on the scoreboard with a long screen pass that showed his ability to quickly make decisions and shed attempted tackles. Carl Nicks got out ahead of Doug and paved the way, allowing Martin a chance to get up to speed. Martin then had to deflect a tackle attempt from Chad Greenway, and got to the next level of the defense. Here he was aided by a Jeremy Zuttah block, which he used well and slipped past more tacklers on his way to daylight. The long screen pass was proof of the versatility of the Boise State rookie.

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Touchdown 4, Week 8 versus the Minnesota Vikings

This one was a bit easier for Martin, but was further proof of his versatility. The Buccaneers lined up in a jumbo formation, stacked to the left. The play is a run off of the left guard, and Martin has some space to plunge ahead. He winds up hitting the back of Vikings’ defensive end Jared Allen, and churns his legs and gets enough forward momentum to break the plane of the goal line.

Touchdown 5, Week 9 versus the Oakland Raiders

If the week before was Martin’s breakout performance, this week was his career defining moment. The first of Martin’s four scores came from 46 yards out, on a delayed handoff. The offensive line had set up a cutback lane from right to left, and Martin used the delay on the handoff to diagnose the running lane. The center and left guard had sealed off their defenders to the right, meaning that Martin could cut behind them and face a pair of linebackers, who represented the only men who could stop him from getting a large chunk of yards. But Martin had help, as a pulling right guard (Jamon Meredith) and the fullback (Erik Lorig) both chip in and make contact with the linebackers, and Martin is able to use his short stature to slip past them. He gets to the defensive backfield, where he shakes a defender out of his shoes to get to the outside, and he then has the speed to finish the play in the end zone.

Touchdown 6, Week 9 versus the Oakland Raiders

Martin’s second score came from a bit further away, and against tougher opposition. The Raiders had nine players within eight yards of the ball at the snap, which would be the ideal defense to stop a running play. The line is loaded to the left with extra blockers, but every blocker crashes right except for a pulling right guard. The guard takes out a linebacker and gives a lane for Martin to cut through against a defensive back who didn’t take a good position despite having multiple other defenders to help cover all the other possible gaps. Doug uses a jabstep move to get past that defensive back and break into open space, and the only other defender who could catch him would injure his hamstring on the play, and was unlikely to prevent Martin from scoring anyways.

Touchdown 7, Week 9 versus the Oakland Raiders

For Martin’s third score of the game, the rookie runner went 70 yards on yet another cutback run. The Buccaneers offensive line got a great push on the right side of the line, and the left tackle Donald Penn is able to contribute with a chip block on a rushing defender which brings him down to a knee, which not only hampers his progress, but holds up another defender coming around the left side of the offensive line. The right side of the line had pushed up so far that it allowed Martin the chance to run towards the left, as those defenders had got further up the field off the snap. Jeremy Zuttah drove his man quite far downfield on this play, and that proved to be a key block, as it paved the way for Martin to run from right to left and get to the second level. Martin would be pursued from behind and would use his low center of gravity and great balance to shrug off attempts to bring him down. He then had the speed to break yet another long run and scored for the third time in the game. But he wasn’t quite done…

Touchdown 8, Week 9 versus the Oakland Raiders

Martin’s final score in week 9 was definitely the easiest. On second and goal from the one yard line, Martin runs towards left guard, and bounces outside to find more space. There’s a bit of a stumble, but there were just so few Raiders there to provide resistance that he scored easily.

Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Touchdown 9, Week 12 versus the Atlanta Falcons

Jeremy Trueblood helped pave the way for Martin on this score, which was a rare contribution from the Bucs’ former starting right tackle. The Buccaneers’ loaded the line to the right with tight ends, but it was the extra lineman Trueblood who would help out on the left side of the line. The toss to the left was aided by Jeremy blocking out a potential tackler and providing a lane for Martin to cut straight up the field and into the end zone rather than running to the pylon and likely failing to have the right angle. Martin didn’t have to work hard here, he just followed the play and used the blocking well.

Touchdown 10, Week 12 versus the Atlanta Falcons

Another short yardage situation, another score for Martin. This one was as standard as it gets, as Martin went up and over the line for a score.

Touchdown 11, Week 14 versus the Philadelphia Eagles

From four yards out, with trips receivers to the right, Doug Martin runs left and gets help from Donald Penn and Vincent Jackson who both handle defenders on that side of the field. He has a clear path for a score for the Buccaneers.

Touchdown 12, Week 17 versus the Atlanta Falcons

Martin decided he would help calm fears of hitting a rookie wall by delivering a long score to end the season on a high note. Martin absolutely schools Thomas DeCoud on this play, as he follows Jeremy Zuttah to the left, and spins off a tackle right into DeCoud, who stands still as Martin bounces off of him and turns up the field for a score. Erik Lorig had a key block on the play to help give Martin the room he needed to get to the second level.

Conclusions

Doug Martin had a fantastic year highlighted by an amazing game for the Buccaneers, but what can we learn from his touchdowns? He’s a very smart runner who knows how to use his blocking, and having a fully healthy offensive line in 2013 will only benefit the Bucs’ young rusher. Watching the film, it’s obvious that Martin reads and reacts to the defense very well, on top of being athletic and strong enough to battle through tackles and shed weak attempts to bring him down. He never settles for a negative play, and works hard to make every touch into a positive gain for the Bucs. Hopefully the Buccaneers can manage his usage in 2013, because he’s going to be a valuable component of the Buccaneers’ offense for years if he remains healthy.

Topics: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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