Early Thursday afternoon, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin became the sixth Buccaneer all-time and first since LeGarrette Blount in 2010 to win the NFL Rookie Offensive Player of the Month award.
The former Boise State Bronco was selected with the 31st overall pick in April’s draft after the Bucs traded their second round and switched fourth round picks with the Denver Broncos in order to move back into the first round.
Martin leads all rookie running backs and is ranked 11th overall in the league with 543 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The versatile back also has 224 yards on 16 catches and a score.
The news that the Buccaneer running back won the award came as a surprise to Martin, who is coming off the best game off his short career against Minnesota last Thursday when he amassed 214 total yards and two touchdowns and is heading to his hometown of Oakland to take on the Raiders this Sunday.
“I just got it (the news) actually, about two minutes ago,” Martin said. “I’m really excited to be honored, it’s an honor.”
The honor is well-deserved as Martin led all NFL players in October averaging 155.7 yards from scrimmage per game.
Martin says that he didn’t put a lot of emphasis on personal goals entering the season and really just focused on playing good football.
“I wouldn’t say it was a goal,” Martin said. “I just wanted to come into this thing being successful, just doing anything I can for the team and being as productive as I can.”
Carl Nicks had a hand in that productivity and now that the All Pro left guard is sidelined for the remainder of the season, Martin believes he can continue being productive.
“Yeah, losing Carl – that’s definitely a loss for our line,” Martin said, “But the next best guy has to step up and the running backs and coaches are definitely confident in the next guy and we’ll just move on from there.
“Like I said, I’m real confident with the guys in front of me with the move-arounds and feel we can be just as productive.”
The newly crowned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month has brought an explosive, reliable running game back to Tampa Bay and has seemingly improved week after week. Before Week 5, Martin’s vision was questioned and several fans were clamoring for Blount to be the starter, but something seemed to change against Kansas City and Martin hasn’t slowed down since.
“It’s getting more comfortable with the offense,” Martin said. “so definitely the game has slowed down for me.”
In the month of October, Martin is tied for fifth among all NFL players with 767 yards from scrimmage. If Tampa Bay's feature back can continue on his current path, Martin is on pace for 1,753 combined yards this season - which would be a franchise record for the most total yards by a rookie in a single season and second-highest among all players in Buccaneers history.