Doug Martin introduced himself to Tampa Bay fans in fine fashion on Sunday, producing 118 total yards in the Buccaneers' season-opening win over the Carolina Panthers. Apparently, the rest of the league noticed, as well.
On Tuesday, Martin was one of five players nominated for the first NFL Rookie of the Week Award in 2012. The eventual winner will be chosen by fan voting on NFL.com; click here to visit the Rookie of the Week page and cast your vote.
Voting began Tuesday morning and will concluded at 3:00 p.m. ET on Friday.
Martin's four competitors for the award are Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill, New England defensive end Chandler Jones and Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh. Fans will select one Rookie of the Week during each of the 17 weeks of the regular season and at the end of the season five nominees from among those 17 winners will be nominated for the NFL Rookie of the Year Award. The last Buccaneer to win that award was running back Cadillac Williams in 2005.
Martin was instrumental in the Buccaneers' 16-10 win at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, leading all players with 95 yards on 24 carries and adding four receptions for 23 yards. He was the main ballcarrier in a rushing attack that piled up 130 yards and allowed the home team to control the clock, with a nearly 15-minute time-of-possession-average.
Martin made an instant impact in his NFL regular-season debut, accounting for 39 yards on the Buccaneers' first possession, an 80-yard touchdown drive. Among his six touches on the drive was a dazzling leaping catch that put the ball at Carolina's 32 and an 11-yard run around left end that produced a first-and-goal at the six.
The first-round pick out of Boise State also was the key figure in the Buccaneers' efforts to close out the game in the fourth quarter. Needing two first downs to run out the clock and keep Carolina from having one more possession, the Bucs gave it to Martin on three of four plays and he picked up 23 yards, including a 15-yard breakaway that produced the second first down and sealed the victory.