Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs get lift from Doug Martin's return to the huddle

TAMPA — The long-awaited return of Doug Martin came Sunday as the running back played for the first time in eight weeks, getting his first touchdown of the season in the Bucs' 36-10 win over the Bears.

After he scored, Martin kissed the grass in the end zone.

"Just happy to be back," said Martin, who had 33 yards on 16 carries. "It was frustrating, but I was back and ready to go."

Martin's role and productivity should expand as he gets back to full strength, and QB Jameis Winston said it was "amazing" to have his presence in the huddle; coach Dirk Koetter agreed: "It was awesome to get Doug out there."

PATCHWORK LINE: The Bucs went into the game without two offensive line starters as C Joe Hawley (knee) and LG Kevin Pamphile (concussion) were inactive. That meant rookie Caleb Benenoch started at left guard to make his NFL debut. Then Evan Smith, filling in at center, was lost to a knee injury in the first quarter.

That mean that Ben Gottschalk, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, was the only center left on roster, and he played the rest of the game.

"I felt prepared going in. I wasn't that nervous," Gottschalk said. "It's been a long time coming, taken a lot of work to get to this point. It just feels really good, gratifying, absolutely."

FULLBACK MCCOY: Koetter relented and let DT Gerald McCoy make a three-play cameo on offense, helping block for Martin's 1-yard touchdown.

The sequence came after a pass interference penalty in the end zone, setting up first and goal at the 1 with 7:26 left and the Bucs up 29-10. Martin was dropped for a 3-yard loss, got back to the 1 on second down, then went in for his first touchdown of the season, with a little help from McCoy.

"First play, I wasn't very victorious … third play we scored and I made a block on it," McCoy said. "First one, I think I hit the biggest dude they've got on the team. I'm a big guy, but he's about 360. When I hit him, 'Oooohh. Is this what fullbacks deal with?' But I lived out a dream, playing on offense, and we won."

THANKS MUCH: TE Cameron Brate scored his fifth touchdown of the season Sunday and finished with team highs of seven catches for 84 yards. He said he appreciates fans who have believed in him in fantasy football.

"My phone, I had a lot of messages from people telling me they picked me up in fantasy football earlier in the week," Brate said. "I'm happy I came through for them. I'm trying to get my ownership up a little bit there. I told my friends they've got to give me some kickbacks if they win now."

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Bucs get lift from Doug Martin's return to the huddle 11/13/16 [Last modified: Sunday, November 13, 2016 10:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh

    Soccer

    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during TCU’s 4-3 win in the College World Series.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101