Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stat Shots: Doug Martin Sets Sights on #1

Stat Shots presented by Air Force Reserve: Doug Martin has pulled to within striking distance of the NFL rushing lead, and his yards per carry figure could set a team record…That and other statistical takeaways from Sunday's game.

Doug Martin carried the ball just 11 times on Sunday, tying his single-game low in 2015, but he was still very productive. Martin turned those 11 totes into 81 yards and a touchdown, with his 14-yard score in the second quarter standing as the Bucs' longest TD run of the season.

Martin did not get to 100 yards, and that was true for the third straight game, which means he is still sitting on four 100-yard games this season, one behind his own personal best of five in 2012 and two behind the team record of six set by Cadillac Williams in 2005.

Of course, 100 yards in a game is an arbitrary measuring stick, albeit a good and clean one. But for a small handful of circumstances, Martin might already have the team record in that category and a run of four straight double-digit games. After his amazing 235-yard game in Philadelphia in Week 11, he has followed with 97, 95 and 81-yard outings. One more carry in those first two games might have done the trick, and the Bucs' two-touchdown deficit against the Saints on Sunday minimized his role in the second half.

We could also arbitrarily set our goal at 80 rushing yards in a game, and see what Martin's current streak looks like. As it turns out, four straight games hitting that benchmark is quite rare in Buccaneer history. It's already tied for the second-longest such run and Martin has a chance to match the franchise record if he finishes up the season strong. Even one more 80-yard game on Thursday night would set a new Buccaneer record for consecutive games at that level in a single season.

Most Consecutive 80-Yard Rushing Games, Tampa Bay

Player

Season(s)

Streak

Games

  1. James Wilder

1984-85

7

14-4*

  1. Doug Martin

2015

4

10-13

  1. Cadillac Williams

2005

4

10-13

  1. James Wilder

1984

4

9-12

  1. James Wilder

1984

4

3-6

** Streak covered Games 14-16 in 1984 and Games 1-4 in 1985.

*Obviously, Wilder's 1984 season accounted for the majority of that list. Since Wilder had four 80+-yard rushing games to open the 1985 season, only Williams and Martin have had runs of even four such games for the Buccaneers. Wilder was the very definition of a workhorse in the 1984 and '85 seasons; in fact, his 407 carries in 1984 set a (since-broken) single-season NFL record. He used all those carries well in 1984, setting a team record with 1,544 rushing yards. More than three decades later, Martin has a shot at breaking that mark. He moved up four spots on the team's list of top rushing seasons with his 81 yards against the Saints.

Most Rushing Yards, Single Season, Buccaneers

Player

Season

Yards

  1. James Wilder

1984

1,544

  1. Doug Martin

2012

1,454

  1. James Wilder

1985

1,300

4. Ricky Bell

1979

1,263

5. Doug Martin*

2015

1,214

  1. Errict Rhett

 1995

1,207

  1. Carnell Williams

2005

1,178

8. Reggie Cobb

1992

1,171

9. Warrick Dunn

2000

1,133

  1. Warrick Dunn

1998

1,026

** Through 13 games

*Martin could take over fourth place on that list with another 50 yards against the Rams, and move all the way into third with 87 yards. If he does that, he'll own two of the top three rushing campaigns in franchise history, a distinction that has long been held by Wilder. As for breaking Wilder's 1984 record, Martin still has a shot. He needs to average just over 110 yards over the final three games to get there.

Martin is on pace for 293 carries, which would be far less than what Wilder logged in 1984, or even 1985 (365). That he still has a shot at surpassing both of Wilder's top two seasons is an indication of how well Martin has done per carry.

Martin's 5.10 yards per carry this year are fourth-best in the NFL among all players with at least 100 totes, behind Seattle's Thomas Rawls (5.65 on 147 carries), St. Louis' Todd Gurley (5.16 on 189 carries) and Cincinnati's Giovanni Bernard (5.13 on 126 carries). Martin is the only player in the NFL with at least 200 carries and an average of more than five yards per attempt.

We mentioned that Martin is on pace for 292 carries. If he gets to at least 250 and maintains a per-carry pace of at least five yards, he will become just the 33rd back in NFL history to accomplish that feat. There have been 41 such efforts in the 46 seasons since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Martin could become just the 11th player in the last decade (2006-15) to do it. Here are the last 10 running backs to pull it off:

Player

Year

Tm

Att

Yds

Avg.

LeSean McCoy

2013

PHI

314

1607

5.12

Jamaal Charles

2012

KAN

285

1509

5.29

Marshawn Lynch

2012

SEA

315

1590

5.05

Adrian Peterson

2012

MIN

348

2097

6.03

Chris Johnson

2009

TEN

358

2006

5.60

Ray Rice

2009

BAL

254

1339

5.27

DeAngelo Williams

2008

CAR

273

1515

5.55

Tiki Barber

2006

NYG

327

1662

5.08

Frank Gore

2006

SFO

312

1695

5.43

LaDainian Tomlinson

2006

SDG

348

1815

5.22

By the way, nine of those 10 running backs made the Pro Bowl in those seasons, with DeAngelo Williams the exception in 2008.

Martin is now on pace to establish a new Buccaneer single-season record for yards per carry, as seen in the chart below. Even if one establishes a qualifier of at least 100 carries in a season, the Bucs could end up with two of the top seven performances in team history. Charles Sims has not logged 100 carries yet but is a good bet to do so and is averaging 4.55 yards on his carries.

Player

Season

No.

Yds.

Avg.

1. Doug Martin*

2015

238

1214

5.10

  1. LeGarrette Blount

2010

201

1007

5.01

  1. James Wilder

1987

106

488

4.60

4.Thomas Jones

2003

137

627

4.58

  1. Warrick Dunn

2000

248

1133

4.57

  1. Doug Martin

2012

319

1454

4.56

7. Charles Sims*

2015

92

419

4.55

  1. Ricky Bell

1979

283

1263

4.46

  1. Warrick Dunn

1997

224

978

4.37

  1. Earnest Graham

2008

132

563

4.27

* Through 13 games

As we noted last week, Martin and Sims have been the NFL's most productive running back tandem in terms of total yards from scrimmage. That distinction was not hurt by their combined 160 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Martin and Sims still have a rather sizeable lead over the second-place duo on the list.

Most Yards from Scrimmage, Top Two RBs, NFL, 2015

Team

RB #1

Yards

RB #2

Yards

Comb.

TB

Doug Martin

1413

Charles Sims

812

2225

PIT

DeAngelo Williams

1044

Le'Veon Bell

692

1736

ATL

Devonta Freeman

1349

Tevin Coleman

383

1732

CIN

Giovani Bernard

1060

Jeremy Hill

666

1726

GB

James Starks

884

Eddie Lacy

794

1678

MIN

Adrian Peterson

1457

Jerick McKinnon

213

1670

CHI

Matt Forte

996

Jeremy Langford

662

1658

NYJ

Chris Ivory

1122

Bilal Powell

532

1654

SD

Danny Woodhead

861

Melvin Gordon

786

1647

BUF

LeSean McCoy

1150

Karlos Williams

448

1598

Individually, Martin is second to Minnesota's Adrian Peterson in both rushing yards and yards from scrimmage, and he has a chance to become the first player in Buccaneer history to lead the NFL in either of those categories. Peterson currently holds a 37-yard edge over Martin in rushing yards (1,251-1,214) and a 44-yard advantage in yards from scrimmage (1,457-1,413). Martin's Buccaneers play in St. Louis on Thursday night, which will be a golden opportunity for Martin to take over the league lead, at least heading into the rest of the weekend's slate of games.

The Buccaneers have never led the NFL in rushing yards as a team, either. They currently rank fourth in the league with an average of 141.2 yards per game. The top three teams are Seattle (144.8), Carolina (141.9) and Buffalo (141.8). That does not including Monday night's game between the Giants and Dolphins, but those two teams currently rank 30th and 28th, respectively, in rushing yards.

Though the Buccaneers' streak of three straight games with a rushing yardage advantage of 100 or more ended against the Saints, they still out-rushed their opponents, 115-87. That marked the 11th time in 13 games that Tampa Bay has had more rushing yards than its opponent, second only to the undefeated Carolina Panthers.

Most Games with a Rushing Yardage Advantage, NFL, 2015

Team

Gms.

Overall W-L

  1. Carolina

12

13-0

2. Tampa Bay

11

6-7

  1. Arizona

10

11-2

4t. Buffalo

9

6-7

4t. Pittsburgh

9

8-5

4t. Seattle

9

8-5

The 2015 Buccaneers have a chance to be one of the most dominant rushing teams in franchise history, in terms of how much better it has been than its opponents. The Bucs have currently won that battle in 11 of 13 games, as mentioned, meaning they can do so in a maximum of 14 games this year. The team record is 13 such performances, by the 1999 team. Only five other Buccaneer squads have hit double digits in that category: 1999, 1998 (12), 2000 (11), 1979 (10) and 1988 (10). The Buccaneers have already set a new franchise record with five games in which they have out-rushed their opponents by 100 or more yards.

It seems likely that the Buccaneers will finish the 2015 season with the greatest rushing yardage margin in team history. They would already own that mark if the season ended today, though it is possible for the team to be out-rushed over the final three weeks and give up the top spot. If the Bucs continued to out-rush their opponents at their current per-game rate, however, they would instead end up with a margin of 753 yards.

Season

Gained

Allowed

Margin

2015*

1835

1223

612

1998

2148

1583

565

1979

2437

1873

564

2012

1837

1320

517

2000

2066

1648

418

1999

1776

1407

369

1997

1934

1617

317

2005

1826

1515

311

1988

1753

1551

202

** Through 13 games

Odds and Ends:

*- The Saints' 24-17 win on Sunday created a season split, as Tampa Bay won in New Orleans in Week Two, 26-19. That means both teams scored exactly 43 points against each other this season. That's the first time since 1999 that the Buccaneers have finished any two-game single series with the exact amount of points scored and points allowed. A 1999 split with the Minnesota Vikings, then an NFC Central foe, ended in a two-game point total of 38-38. The Bucs and Vikings did the same thing in 1996, matching points at 34 each in a two-game split. The only other time that has happened to the Buccaneers was in 1984 against the New York Giants. The Bucs and Giants were not division opponents that year (or any year) but they still played twice and produced a 34-34 total points tie.

  • Adam Humphries' six-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter made him the ninth different player to catch a scoring pass from Winston this season. That's just the eighth time in 40 seasons at least nine different Bucs have scored on a reception in the same year. The 2003 team set the record with an incredible 13 different targets for Brad Johnson and Shaun King's touchdown passes. The Bucs also had 10 different players haul in a scoring pass in 1983, 1987, 1993, 19998, 1999 and 2010.
  • Tampa Bay's offense converted on four of 11 third-down tries on Sunday against the Saints, for a success rate of 36.4%. That marked just the second time in the last 10 games that Tampa Bay has failed to convert at least 45% of its third-down tries on offense. Overall, that dropped the Buccaneers' 2015 third-down success rate from 42.7% to 42.3%, but the team is still within striking distance of its own single-season record. That was set at 42.9% by the 1984. Even if the current team doesn't equal that mark, it can put up the second-best percentage by maintaining its current pace. The second team on that list is the 2010 squad, which was good on 42.2% of its third-down tries.*
    *
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