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Doug Martin’s first game back bodes well for the rest of the season

The Buccaneers may have a running game as well.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a weird pattern to Doug Martin’s NFL performance: either he rushes for over 1,400 yards and adds a decent amount of receiving yardage (2012 and 2015), or he gets stuck at fewer than 500 rushing yards and almost no receiving production (2013, 2014 and 2016).

That’s been true for five seasons now, and if that patterns hold true, the Bucs are about to have a very productive Doug Martin in their midst. The former Pro Bowl running back looked like a star against the New England Patriots, racking up 74 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 13 carries—plus one catch for eight yards. \

Of course, that’s just one game against a pretty terrible defense (that somehow stopped the Bucs’ passing game...), and the offensive line produced some pretty big holes. But Martin looked like the Martin we saw in 2012 and 2015: shifty and powerful, using his size to hide behind blockers and then burst through the openings he gets.

That bodes well for the rest of the season. We might not see him get to 1,400 yards, given the three games he’s missed, but it seems the Bucs have a back they can build a running game on. And that’s a real necessity, given the team’s inconsistent passing game.