With Doug Martin (concussion) out of this past Sunday’s game in Green Bay, Peyton Barber stepped up in a major way. The former Auburn Tiger ran 23 times for 102 yards and caught four passes for 41 yards. It was the first 100-yard rushing game by a Buccaneer since last October. Whether or not Martin returns on Sunday against the Lions shouldn’t matter too much, right? Barber has earned the right to get more looks throughout the rest of the season.
Detroit’s defense is nineteenth in run defense, giving up 114.9 yards per game on the ground. If Martin returns, the Bucs likely won’t keep him completely out of their plans. However, Barber showed more burst against the Packers than anyone in a Buccaneer uniform has shown all year. And with Tampa Bay likely moving on from the veteran Martin in the offseason, doesn’t it make sense to see what Barber is able to do when getting consistent playing time?
The Buccaneer offensive line was downright terrible in pass protection against Green Bay, but managed to get Barber some space. He paid that off, running for chunk plays to keep drives alive. Tampa Bay would be wise to continue giving reps to the 23-year-old, especially as it keeps an eye on the future. If he has another strong performance this week, the Bucs could come away with an upset win.