Doug Martin carries the load and Charles Sims is the dangerous change-of-pace back known for his pass-catching prowess.

Those are the week-to-week roles Bucs fans can expect from the team’s dynamic duo in the offensive backfield, but last Sunday showed the capabilities of Martin the receiver.

Bucs RB Charles Sims - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs RB Charles Sims – Photo by: Getty Images

The fifth-year back picked up a somewhat pedestrian 62 yards on 18 carries in Atlanta but that was only a portion of his productivity. Martin tied with wideout Mike Evans for the team-lead in receptions by securing all five passes thrown his way for an additional 34 yards.

Three times in his career has Martin caught five or more passes, including both Carolina games in 2015. Last year was also Martin’s first in a Dirk Koetter-engineered offense. He finished with 33 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown.

Asked Wednesday if he expects to see the trend continue, Martin told reporters he doesn’t see why not.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Martin said. “When a quarterback [has to scramble] the running back is your best friend. He realizes that and we love those. Running backs, we love space. So hopefully we get some more of those.”

Combined with Sims’ three catches for 32 yards, the Bucs running back tandem hauled in all eight of its targets for 66 yards. That also includes the electric 23-yard touchdown catch-and-run from Sims before halftime that put Tampa Bay on top for good.

That touchdown and the joint effort shows again what a Martin-Sims backfield can produce in this offense, even when the individual numbers don’t jump off the page.

“Chuck is a great running back,” Martin said. “He’s good catching the ball out of the backfield and that play right there definitely fired us up right before the half. It was in the two-minute drill and Chuck is capable of making plays like that and we’re glad to have him on our team.”

“It’s just not missing a beat, whoever’s in the game,” Sims said from the locker room. “Just picking up where the other guy left off.”

Bucs RB Doug Martin - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Getty Images

Atlanta made it an early defensive goal to slow down the Tampa Bay ground attack and did a fairly decent job of doing so. The Bucs averaged 3.2 yards per carry as a team after rushing for 90 yards and no touchdowns on 28 rushing attempts.

Despite the average statistics, the Bucs remained committed to the run throughout the game and Martin took four carries seven yards or longer, including a 17-yard pickup in the second half.

The Bucs stuck to the run last year and it paid off. Their 135.1-yard rushing average propelled Tampa Bay to No. 5 in the league in total yardage. That’s where Martin wants to get back to, starting Sunday in Arizona.

“It was a solid game,” he said of Week 1. “Going forward we’re going to do a lot better in the run game. It all works together. Play action opens up the passes, which it definitely did during this past game. I can’t wait to see what this offense can do.”

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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4 years ago

We have a good running combo; got to keep Winston up right as we have QB zero back up. Go Bucs

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4 years ago

Falcons were jamming the line with eight man fronts daring Winston to beat them with his arm and that’s exactly what he did.
Winston can expect to see more of the same against he Cardinals and every other team until he continues to beat them with his arm. If he continues to play like he did against the Falcons, Martin will see a lot less eight man fronts and more room to run.

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4 years ago

The Dougernaught is showing last year was no fluke! Another big year is coming.

PR, I dont know if you got any connections at EA but they gotta correct the commentary on Madden 17 from “Dougenator” to “Dougernaught”

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4 years ago

Weak opponent. It’ll be telling how the Bucs play against an upper echelon team in Arizona.

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4 years ago

Weak opponent or not, the new formula is to make the other guys respect the run. If they do, bombs away. last year that’s exactly what occurred and Dougernaught ran rampant. For years we had no passing attack and teams consistently stuffed the box with safeties and stop our running attack. I thought some of Doug’s best plays were his receptions.
Just imagine what Marino could have done if he had a good running game. Is Winston as good as Marino? I’m drinking the koolaid and saying yes. Well maybe not yet, but I’m hoping.

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4 years ago

A .500 record from the previous year doesn’t make you weak, Morgan. It makes you average. A 6-10 record might qualify you as being “weak.” Might. Add to the fact the Falcons hadn’t lost what I believe was 8 straight home opening wins.
Everyone knows what the Falcons record is but they also know it was their home opener.
Morgan, are you related to jongruden?

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