Pro Side: Martin Spices Up NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Debate
Entering this NFL season, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year award appeared destined to land in the hands of a superstar quarterback named either Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. Four Sundays after the opening kick, with both signal callers leading their teams to surprise starts, those expectations were affirmed. Yet now, at the halfway point, there looks to be a new horse in the race.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin exploded for over 250 yards rushing last weekend against the Oakland Raiders in a 42-32 Tampa Bay win. Martin currently stands third in the entire league in rushing, amassing 794 yards to go along with seven touchdowns. His 5.2 yards per carry average is also third best amongst backs with at least 100 rushes. Behind the rookie's efforts, the Bucs have a rebounded from a tough 1-3 start to win three of their last four games.
Previous to their game with the Bucs, Oakland had done well defending the run, allowing just over 100 yards per game to their opponents on the ground. However, Martin's performance changed all that, largely due to his runs of 40, 67 and 70 yards. This was not the first time the former first round pick dismantled a sturdy defense.
The week prior, Martin ran for 135 against the Minnesota Vikings and scored once in a 36-17 upset win on the road. Two weeks ago, the Boise State product also reeled in three catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. His production through the passing game not only highlights his elusiveness and speed, but also his value as an all-around player. His 245 yards on the season is third best amongst all Buccaneers.
This weekend Tampa Bay will host the San Diego Chargers, who boast the league's fourth best run defense. Meanwhile, Robert Griffin III and the Redskins will enjoy a bye as Andrew Luck and the Colts plan to take on the Jaguars at home tomorrow night at 8:20 p.m.
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