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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs running game grounded by big deficit



NEW ORLEANS -- With the Saints entering today's game sporting what is, statistically, the second-worst rushing defense in the NFL, a prime opportunity existed to get rookie rushing leader Doug Martin going.

But the way the game eventually unfolded made running the ball prohibitive. With the Bucs trailing 24-0 at halftime, Martin was used sparingly, carrying nine times for 16 yards – clearly the least-productive day of his young career.

“The game just got away from us,” Martin said. “The turnovers and us just not being able to get anything going on offense. We all thought it was going to be a back-and-forth battle with the Saints, but with the early turnovers we just got out of rhythm.

“(The Saints) really made it a one-dimensional game for us. We had to pass instead of focus on the run and that led us to keep getting behind and not doing what we normally do on offense. That’s not how we’ve played this year and it was really tough out there for us.”

Martin has averaged 19.5 carries in 2012 and his nine rushing attempts in New Orleans was his second-fewest of the season.

It’s unfortunate the game played out as it did. The Saints have allowed a number of huge individual rushing performances this season, including a 233-yard day by the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles.

“When you quickly fall behind, I don’t know if the running game ever gets a shot,” coach Greg Schiano said.

[Last modified: Sunday, December 16, 2012 8:27pm]


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