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)

Doug Martin leads Bucs past Vikings 36-17

MINNEAPOLIS — Doug Martin moved forward as arms slapped his shoulder pads while he bumped off bodies, ducking and weaving until he broke free of all the people trying to get a piece of him Thursday night.

When he had reached the Bucs locker room, after running through the gauntlet of teammates, coaches and owners, the celebration — make that the coronation —began.

"He's special," tight end Dallas Clark said while nodding toward the rookie from Boise State. "He's only going to get better, and he is fun to block for, that's for sure."

Martin, drafted in the first round when the Bucs traded up to get him in April, burst onto the national stage by accounting for 214 total yards and two touchdowns in a 36-17 win over the Vikings.

He ran 29 times for 135 yards and a touchdown. He caught three passes for 79 yards, scoring on a 64-yard screen pass from Josh Freeman.

It was the first 100-yard rushing game for Martin, who matched Vikings Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson highlight for highlight in front of a national television audience on NFL Network.

Considering the short week, long flight and noisy Metrodome on Thursday, the Bucs could not have asked for a better performance.

"It was tough, but no one cares," Clark said. "This league isn't about excuses. It doesn't matter if we played Monday, the next day, in a pasture, a three-hour flight.

"I think the guys did a great job of handling the situation and showed great maturity. The guys moved on and didn't lie around and thinking about losing a tough one (to New Orleans) Sunday.

The Bucs (3-4) beat the Vikings for the sixth straight time and broke the Thursday night curse of road teams, who were 1-5 this season. It was the first loss at the Metrodome this season for the Vikings (5-3).

Martin, who had 253 yards from scrimmage in two previous games combined, got off to a fast start, bursting for a seasonlong 41-yard run in the first quarter. He helped the Bucs extend their lead to 27-10 on the opening drive of the second half by taking a screen pass in the left flat from Freeman, setting up blocks from center Jeremy Zuttah and receiver Tiquan Underwood to race 64 yards for a touchdown.

"The line did a good job of opening holes and sustaining their blocks," Martin said. "We just wanted to be more physical than the other team. If we do that, then the holes will open up and I can just do my job."

Freeman became the first quarterback in club history to record three touchdown passes for the third consecutive game.

"He hit a few runs again," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said of Martin. "He comes spitting out of there and that's what we believe he can do. He's just getting better and better. I think the game is starting to slow down for him a little bit."

Freeman hasn't slowed down, either. He passed for 262 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

When the Vikings drew within 30-17 midway through the third quarter, Freeman put together a 16-play, 87-yard drive to put the game away, going 4-of-4 passing to convert four third-down situations.

"He was unbelievable," Schiano said of Freeman. "He was (4-for-4) on third-down conversions and some of them were longer. They weren't your third and 2s. It was an excellent job by the offensive line and Josh sliding up in the pocket."

The Bucs defense may have allowed 123 yard rushing to Peterson, but it bottled up quarterback Christian Ponder, sacking him three times. Tampa Bay also forced two fumbles that led to 10 points.

But the night and the game belonged to Martin.

"The moment is never too big for Doug," Freeman said.

Doug Martin leads Bucs past Vikings 36-17 10/25/12 [Last modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 1:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Jake Odorizzi goes on 10-day DL with back strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jake Odorizzi is hoping his struggles this season can be tied directly to the lower-back strain he has tried to pitch through since spring training. Toward that end, the Rays placed Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday retroactive to Tuesday.

    Rays center fielder Mallex Smith smiles after hitting a single advancing runners in the third inning. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  2. Playoff chase heats up for Rays with critical series at Yankees up first

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    It was important that Evan Longoria crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning Wednesday and Steven Souza Jr. blasted a solo shot off the farthest catwalk an inning later.

    Adeiny Hechavarria (11) and Tim Beckham (1) celebrate the double play to end the top of the sixth inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  3. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Thursday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Saturday, July 22, 2017.
  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It is going to get interesting tonight when the Rays begin a four-game series against the Yankees in New York. The Rays feel they are good enough to win the East Division. These next four games and the four that follow in Houston will be a good measuring stick.

  5. Jones: Alex Cobb proves again why he's Rays' stopper, no matter how long he's here

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    If a team hopes to hang around the pennant race, they better have an ace. A stopper. A pitcher they can count on every fifth day to stop the bleeding, keep a winning streak going or flat-out win a game that a team flat-out needs to win.

    Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing the first inning. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]