Broncos focus on neutralizing Martin
Two weeks ago, Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin was the talk of the NFL. Now, he's a rookie trying to make adjustments to the pro game.
The first-round draft pick out of Boise State was neutralized for the second consecutive game Sunday as the Broncos held Martin to only 56 yards in 18 carries. "I've got to tip my hat to the Denver defense,'' said Martin, who gained 50 yards against Atlanta last week in 21 rushing attempts. "As a team, we have to make a lot of adjustments – and so do I.''
Martin also caught three passes for 42 yards on Sunday, bringing his season total yards from scrimmage to 1,480 – a franchise record for a rookie. Previously, Warrick Dunn held the mark at 1,440 yards.
Tampa Bay's failure to establish a credible ground game, however, forced Josh Freeman to attempt 40 passes in 61 offensive snaps against the Broncos. "That's always No. 1 in my book,'' Broncos DT Kevin Vickerson said of shutting down the run. "We came out and did that today.''
In Week 9, Martin set a franchise rushing record with 251 yards in a victory at Oakland. He also become the first running back in NFL history to score on three touchdowns runs of 45 yards or more in a single game – scoring from 45, 67 and 70 yards, in addition to a 1-yard scoring run.
On Sunday, Martin's longest run was a 9-yard gain midway through the opening quarter. "We've got to do a better job of getting Doug to the second level,'' Bucs LG Jeremy Zuttah said. "He's a tremendous talent and he's going to get a lot of attention every week.''