“On any given Sunday” was the phrase coined by the late commissioner Bert Bell back in the 1950’s. Well lets extend that to Thursday nights as well. With NFL Network carrying a full slate of games this year, another stage has been added to showcase players who otherwise would be obscured outside of Sunday highlight shows. Enter Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers.
He powered the formerly 2-4 Bucs to a 36-17 victory over the 5-2 Vikings up in the Metrodome. This was an impressive win for Tampa. Going into the game the Vikings were 4-0 at home and had the NFL’s 11th ranked defense which only allowed 14.25 points per game in those 4 wins. Even NFC heavyweight San Francisco could only manage 13 points in the home of the Norsemen. So who was this group that came up north to wreak havoc on a former division rival??
Well avid readers of the Taylor Blitz Times know this doesn’t come as a shock to us. In Tampa’s previous 4 losses, they came by a total of 22 points, and one of those came courtesy of Eli Manning’s 245 yard 4th quarter (520 overall), 25 point performance when they faced New York. Even in that 41-34 defeat, they stared down the defending champion Giants and have scored 28 or more in 4 of their 7 games this year. Josh Freeman is back to how he looked in 2010 when he was second to Tom Brady in the touchdown to interception ratio with 14 TDs to only 5 interceptions. Here we predicted the Bucs to rise into possible wild card contention with the addition of Martin from Boise St. Even with our eye on him Martin’s start to the season has been slow and developing. His play mimics that of a team that showed flashes but hadn’t put a complete game together.
The big night began for Martin in the first quarter where he took a routine draw play 41 yards to the Vikings 16 to set up the first score of the night to make it 3-0. He finally showed the package of speed and burst this night that Boise St. Bronco fans had been accustomed to seeing.
Later in the first now up 10-0, from his own 46 yard line, Martin took off on a counter gap and completely plowed over Viking DB Jamarca Sanford (SEC / Ole Miss) for 12 more. A completely physical run, the type of attitude run that establishes dominance on a football field. On this night the Buccaneers ran him on counters, stretches, and draw plays that allowed him to gain over 100 yards by halftime.
Then early in the 3rd quarter came his signature play of the night. On a routine screen play, two Viking defenders converged on him, with a signature stiff arm to DT Letroy Guion (from Florida St.) he burst through 3 more Vikings and 64 yards later the Bucs were up 27-10. Ballgame!!
For the night Martin had 29 car. for 135 yards and 1 TD, to go with 3 receptions 79 more yards and another touchdown. Martin was the star of the game and did it on a national stage with the rest of the NFL watching. Those that doubted his ability to play on this level have all shut their collective mouths for this was a strong performance.
Consider his next three games are against the Raiders (12th against the run), down on their luck Chargers (2nd against the run), and Carolina (19th against the run) he might be able to string together a few hundred yard games here.
For the season Doug Martin sits at 543 yards, which is more than halfway to the 1,000 yards The Chancellor of Football told you he’d get. Do you realize he’s only played 7 games?? Do you realize if he duplicated last night’s performance next week, it would put him on pace for a 1,356 yard season??
For all the Johnny Come-Lately’s we have been touting this talent here for more than two football seasons now. This was a gem we wrote to get some exposure out there about him when no other writer or pundit had anything good to say. It was us and no one else writer-wise. The only guy who did talk about Martin as a 1st round pick and will do great in the pros was fellow NFL analyst Mike Mayock. Ironically, he was the color analyst for last night’s game. We argued the merits of Doug Martin and the National Championship legitimacy of the Boise St Broncos against a tidal wave of naysayers… Which brings us to our next point…
Are you familiar with the Boise St 50 club?? I know you aren’t… The Boise St Broncos class of 2011 was the first Division I (we use old school terminology here) graduating class to win 50 games during their collegiate career. They should have played for the National Championship at least one of those years. Yet NCAA, CBS and BCS politics kept them from their legitimate place as one of the great teams in college football history because they didn’t play in the SEC or a BCS power conference. They were 6-0 against teams from BCS conferences, won 4 bowl games including 2 BCS bowl games, and had 2 undefeated seasons. Now those former colleagues that argued against The Chancellor’s points are nowhere to be found now that every skilled player from that Boise St. team made the NFL.
Kellen Moore is in Detroit along with WR Titus Young, and WR Austin Pettis (Rams) who scored in last week’s game against the Packers. They were the winningest team in college football from 1999-2011. There are other notable Boise St Broncos in the NFL… Ask Aaron Rodgers and now Matt Ryan what they think of Daryn Colledge as a tackle. He started for the 2010 Super Bowl Champion Packers. Then go tap Peyton Manning on the shoulder and ask him what school his left tackle Ryan Clady went to.
Yet the lasting legacy of that group will be Doug Martin’s NFL career and he’s now off and running. He was the crown jewel of that group and last night was a glimpse into what he can do as a runner. Isn’t it ironic that Tamp Bay RB LaGarrette Blount became infamous for punching a Boise St player and now he sits behind one on the Buccanneer depth chart??
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Another friend to the Taylor Blitz Times is the Ray Ellis Show on Voice of America Sports. Talks about pro football on every Tuesday and has many former players on his show. The Chancellor has been on the show a few times talking football and being from Ohio he knows his football. Tune in on Tuesdays http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/64762/ray-ellis-sports