In Tuesday's announcement on Buccaneers.com that Doug Martin had been nominated for the latest Rookie of the Week award, it was noted that Tampa Bay's emerging star back had led not just rookies but all NFL players in yards from scrimmage in Week Eight. Martin helped the Buccaneers demolish the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night with 214 combined rushing and receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Duly noted, says the NFL. Those accomplishments were also enough to earn Martin a spot among the three nominees for the league's Ground Player of the Week Award in Week Eight. He is the first Buccaneer to be nominated for this award in 2012.
Like the Rookie of the Week Award, this one will produce a winner by the end of the week based on fan voting on NFL.com. For the Ground Player of the Week Award, Martin is up against a fellow rookie in Cleveland RB Trent Richardson, as well as RB Stevan Ridley of the New England Patriots. Click here to watch video highlights on all the nominees and to cast your vote for the Bucs' amazing rookie.
On just pure rushing totals, Martin was the NFL's top producer in Week Eight, racking up 135 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. His 41-yard burst in the first quarter set up a Connor Barth field goal for the game's first points, and he also capped the scoring with a rugged one-yard run on third down midway through the fourth period. Martin had 103 rushing yards by halftime to record the first 100-yard game of his NFL career.
Though this particular award is labeled "Ground Player" – its companion honor, "Air Player," goes to a quarterback each week – Martin's 64-yard touchdown catch is featured in the accompanying video on NFL.com. This would indicate that we should consider his work in the passing attack, too, and that pushes an already excellent performance near the top of the list of the best individual games of the entire season.
With 79 yards and a touchdown on three receptions, Martin finished the game with a career-best 214 yards from scrimmage. That was the NFL's best total by nearly 50 yards (Jason Witten, 167) in Week Eight. It was also the fifth-best single-game total of the entire season so far, just behind teammate Vincent Jackson's 216 yards in Week Seven. Martin is one of only three running backs (also Kansas City's Jamaal Charles in Week Three and New York's Ahmad Bradshaw in Week Five) to surpass 200 yards from scrimmage in a single game this year.
Compared to his two competitors for this week's Ground Player award, Martin produced 80 more total yards than Richardson and 87 more than Ridley. He also scored twice, as compared to one each for Richardson and Ridley. Martin has made a strong case for taking the Week Eight honors, now he needs your vote to make it happen.
Balloting for the Ground Player of the Week Award continues through 3:00 p.m. ET on Friday. Go to NFL.com to vote now!