One week after rushing for a career-high 135 yards on 29 carries in the win over the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie running back Doug Martin nearly doubled that number with 25 carries for 251 yards on the ground against the Oakland Raiders.
Along with 272 total yards on Sunday, Martin also reached the endzone for a career-high four touchdowns. The Raiders’ defense had absolutely no answer for the up-and-coming rookie as he was nearly unstoppable in Week 9 as the Bucs went on to win their second straight, 42-32.
Perhaps Martin’s biggest motivating factor coming into this matchup with the Raiders was 60 friends and family members in the stands. Oakland is Martin’s hometown and he couldn’t have had a better showing in his return to the Bay Area.
During the first half of the 2012 NFL season, all the talk of Rookie of the Year candidates were directed towards Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins. With Griffin being dubbed this season’s Cam Newton, the new face of the franchise in the nation’s capital seemed to be the clear favorite for the award.
After these impressive performances in consecutive weeks, Martin may have taken over the distinction as the league’s top rookie as he continues torch opposing defenses on a weekly basis.
So far this season, Martin has rushed for 794 yards and seven touchdowns. Martin has also made an impact as a receiver this season with 245 yards receiving and one touchdown.
If the Boise State product continues to put up solid numbers from week to week, Martin will give Griffin a run for his money this season for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck has also played well in his first season in the league after being drafted with the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, but hasn’t exactly been in the same category as Griffin or Martin. Luck has thrown for 2,405 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
As for Griffin, the former Heisman trophy winner has cooled off considerably since having a red-hot start right out of the gate, but has put up solid numbers thus far. Griffin has thrown for 1,993 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. Much like Newton last year, Griffin gets it done on the ground as well with 529 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Although both Luck and Griffin may very well be in the conversation for the rest of the season, Martin has begun to turn it on and is quickly getting the distinction as one of the best backs in the league.