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Doug Martin, Bucs hope to keep Packers' Aaron Rodgers off field

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) rushes for 7 yards and a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Nov. 30, 2014. DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) rushes for 7 yards and a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Nov. 30, 2014. DIRK SHADD | Times
Published Dec. 20, 2014

TAMPA — Doug Martin, who rushed for a season-high 96 yards Sunday against the Panthers, understands that the more he is on the field Sunday against the Packers, the less time Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is, which probably would be a good thing for the Bucs.

"We know what Aaron Rodgers can do, and that's something we talk about with our offense being on the field more, so we can keep their offense off the field," Martin said.

To do that, the Bucs need to sustain their running game into the second half, something they've struggled to do recently. In the past four games, they have averaged 2.6 yards per carry in the second half. Martin gained 180 yards on 30 carries in the first half of those games, 23 yards in 18 carries in the second half.

Coach Lovie Smith said he didn't know why the running game hasn't been as effective in the second half.

"If I knew that, we'd be doing something about it," Smith said Friday. "We haven't done as good of a job as we need to during that time on anything, really. All you can do is just keep trying to get it done, to get some production from it."

INJURIES: S Major Wright (ribs) is the only player ruled out for Sunday, Smith said. But nickel Isaiah Frey didn't practice, and all season, no Buc who has been held out of Friday practice with an injury has played in the game.

S Dashon Goldson (shin) and LB Mason Foster (Achilles) had limited participation and were listed as questionable. DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring), OT Kevin Pamphile (ankle/knee) and WR Solomon Patton (foot) were upgraded to full participation but listed as questionable.

SELLOUT: Sunday's game is sold out, the first sellout for the Bucs in more than a year, since the 49ers drew an announced crowd of 64,142 on Dec. 15 last season. The Bucs initially reserved some Packers tickets as an incentive to sell season tickets, but even those are long gone.

Tickets on the secondary market are in high demand. The cheapest available at stubhub.com Friday was $122; by comparison, the cheapest ticket for the Dec. 28 home finale against the Saints was $38.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and at (813) 226-3346. Follow @gregauman.

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