Though quarterback Josh Freeman continued his streak of passing for three touchdowns—having done so now in three consecutive games—it was rookie running back Doug Martin who made the Bucs offense churn right along against a solid Vikings defense.
Through seven games, Martin has rushed for 543 yards and three touchdowns. The rookie has added another 224 yards and a touchdown receiving out of the backfield as well.
Martin's versatility has helped Tampa Bay win two of its last three games while scoring a combined 102 points. In those three games, he has rushed for 296 yards and two touchdowns while catching eight passes for another 171 yards and a score.
In fantasy terms, Martin has scored 61 points over the his last three games in standard leagues. After tallying only 33 fantasy points in his first four games, it seems the rookie is starting to pick up steam for a huge second-half stretch.
It appears that Tampa Bay is shying away from giving LeGarrette Blount too many carries.
Other than the occasional goal-line tote or spelling a tired Martin, Blount's days as the Bucs' featured back are over. And with what Martin has shown early in his young career, Tampa Bay would do well to not utilize a running-back-by-committee approach.
Since Martin was able to shred Minnesota's 12th-ranked rush defense for 214 total yards and two touchdowns, there might not be a defense left on Tampa Bay's schedule—other than maybe the San Diego Chargers or the St. Louis Rams—capable of slowing down the rookie.
If Freeman can continue to play well and keep the opposing defense loose, Martin should be able to find solid success throughout the season.