Analyzing Buccaneers running back Doug Martin’s five runs from the game against the Jaguars.
Remember week one, when the Buccaneers couldn’t get anything going on the ground against the Bengals? We were talking about how neither Jacquizz Rodgers or Doug Martin were running like a lead back. Nobody was talking about the competition for starting back, but it exists, and someone had to show they could handle it. Martin also needed to show that he deserves to be in Tampa when his suspension ends.
Against the Jaguars, however, the script was flipped. Martin looked like the back of old, running the ball five times for 30 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers on the other hand, ran it three times for four yards. If Martin is going to stick in Tampa after his suspension, he showed the team why he should. He ran with a spring in his step that we haven’t seen in quite some time. His awareness looked like the 1,400 rushing yards Doug.
Today we are going to look at each of Martin’s five runs from the game against Jacksonville. How good did he really look? Very good. Let’s see:
Screen shots courtesy of NFL Game Pass (subscription required)
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SECOND AND FIVE, BUCS 22
After catching a five yard pass from Jameis Winston, Martin takes the handoff and tries the right side. It’s all bottled up, but look at the picture above. Here is where Martin shows his vision. See how he is looking around the left side? He sees the room and makes a beautiful cut back move, turning nothing into a six yard game, setting the Bucs up third and short.
SECOND AND FOUR, BUCS 34
After a second reception, the Bucs have it second and short. Martin is lined up directly behind Winston and takes the ball off of the left side. Paul Posluszny gets in the backfield untouched. Martin tries to bounce it outside but the defense has it sealed. He gets what he can which ends up being two yards before Posluszny brings him down.
FIRST AND GOAL, JAGUARS 2
To cap an 11 play scoring drive, Martin is lined up straight behind Winston with Alan Cross in the fullback position. On the handoff, Martin is led by Cross to the left side. All it takes is a block by Cross at the point of attack for Martin to turn on the speed. He beats Telvin Smith to the pylon and it’s a touchdown for the Bucs.
FIRST AND TEN, BUCS 22
Following a Jacksonville punt, the Bucs set up first and ten in their own territory. Martin is the single back behind Winston. This time they run a back side play. The offensive line gets the defense moved to the left. Martin takes the ball and starts as if he is going to run behind them. Instead, he makes a late cut to the right or back side. Nobody is there and it is good for a nine yard gain.
FIRST AND TEN, JAGUARS 37
For his final run of the day, Winston is lined up in the shotgun. Martin is lined up next to him to his left. At the snap, Winston gives to Martin and he tries the right side. Just look at the picture above to see the job that offensive line did here. Do you see how big the hole is? You could drive a truck through it. Martin accelerates through it, isn’t even touched until he has picked up nine yards, and ends up with 11 on the play.
We still don’t know what is going to happen with Martin after he serves his suspension. We do know that he is making one heck of a case to stay.