Run game starts well, fades late against Bengals
Facing one of the worst run defenses in the league, the Bucs tried to exploit the Bengals’ weakness and kick-start its own struggling ground game. The result was successful - for a half, at least, in Sunday's 14-13 loss to the Bengals.

The Bucs averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the first half and totaled 69 rushing yards, their second-most in an opening half this season. “We felt like we could run the football,” coach Lovie Smith said. “Our game plan put us in position.”

It helped that a healthy Doug Martin began to look like a former Pro Bowler. Martin’s 55 yards in the first half marked his highest total in a game since October 2013. His 7-yard touchdown run three minutes into the second quarter was the Bucs’ first rushing score since Week 5 – a stretch of almost 27 full quarters.

“A lot of people on this team ain’t seen how explosive Doug can be,” RT Demar Dotson said. “We knew it was always in him.”

But the Bucs’ run game disappeared late. Martin gained only three yards on six carries in the second half. The team ran the ball only 10 times and gained six yards in the final two quarters. “I have no idea…” said RB Bobby Rainey, who had 11 yards on his only carry. “We’ve just got to finish. We’re starting off fast and also have to finish that way, too.