Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Doug Martin runs into Bucs' record book, then disappears

INDIANAPOLIS — On another long run, Doug Martin went 56 yards late in the second quarter Sunday against the Colts, setting up a Bucs touchdown and putting him over 1,000 yards for the season.

And then, inexplicably, he touched the ball just three more times the rest of the way in a 25-12 loss.

Martin, who entered the game second in the NFL in rushing, had 90 yards on 12 carries in the first half. He had just two carries for 7 yards in the second half, along with a 1-yard catch, though the Bucs were within a touchdown of the Colts until the final six minutes.

"That's how it plays out," said Martin, who finished with 97 yards on 14 carries. "It's Coach's call. It's just how it played out."

Sacks and penalties got the Bucs into passing situations on three of their first four drives of the second half, with backup RB Charles Sims in on one of the series.

"Just trying to be productive on the offensive side," coach Lovie Smith said when asked if there was a specific move away from Martin.

Martin becomes the fourth Bucs player to rush for 1,000-plus yards in two seasons, joining James Wilder, Errict Rhett and Warrick Dunn.

ROOKIE RECORD: QB Jameis Winston threw for 245 yards, giving him 2,650 for the season, breaking the Bucs' rookie record of 2,608, set by current backup Mike Glennon in 2013. Winston has five games left and is on pace for 3,854 yards, which would be the third most in the NFL by a rookie, trailing Cam Newton (2011) and Andrew Luck (2012).

COSTLY DROP: The Bucs were trailing 16-12 in the third quarter and had driven to the Colts' 36-yard line when Winston tried to hit WR Mike Evans with a deep ball down the left sideline, only to see the pass slip through Evans' hands, leading to a missed 54-yard field goal.

"I'm not about to make excuses," said Evans, who caught two passes on that drive and finished with five for 64 yards but on 10 targeted passes. "I've got to catch it."

STEP BACK: The Colts had just 14 sacks in 10 games before getting to Winston for five. That's the most sacks Tampa Bay has allowed all season after allowing six total in the previous five games.

"They were just a better team," Bucs LT Donovan Smith said. "They played harder than us, and you could see that. Credit them."

FLAGS FLYING: The Bucs were called for 12 penalties for 95 yards, both the most since their loss to the Redskins on Oct. 25.

A holding penalty by OL Kevin Pamphile negated a touchdown, and a defensive holding penalty on DB Alterraun Verner negated a fumble the Bucs had recovered.

"I was annoyed with a lot that was going on," said OL Logan Mankins, flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he shoved a Colts player. "I should have held my cool a little better."

THIS AND THAT: The Bucs played a ninth straight game without TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, sidelined by a shoulder injury. … DT Gerald McCoy had one of three Bucs sacks, giving him a team-high seven this season. … Seminole High graduate D'Qwell Jackson led the Colts with 11 tackles, including his second sack of the season. … After going 5-for-7 on third downs in the first half, the Bucs went 1-for-6 in the second half, including three plays on which they needed 11 yards or more.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

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