It goes without saying that quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are currently the front-runners for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
But following yesterday's magnificent performance against the Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin certainly belongs in the conversation.
|Photo by: Ezra Shaw|
Not only that, but he became the first player in NFL history to have 3 scoring runs of over 40 yards in the same game (45, 67, 70).
Martin's performance also marked only the second time in league history (Mike Anderson being the other) that a player ran for 250+ yards and 4 scores in a single game.
Over his last 4 starts, Martin has carried the rock 83 times for 547 yards and 6 TDs, averaging an astonishing 6.6 yards per carry.
That puts him on pace to rush for nearly 1,600 yards this season.
It's also worth noting that the Bucs are 3-1 when Martin gets at least 20 touches, so clearly he's the catalyst for Tampa Bay's offensive success.
If all these stats don't put him in the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year, what will?
What makes Martin's numbers even more impressive is the fact that he wasn't one of the top 10 players taken in this year's draft. He wasn't even selected in the top 30. He was the 31st guy picked, and was basically expected to share the workload with former starter LeGarrette Blount, a guy who Martin has relegated to an afterthought at this point.
Moving forward, the Bucs face 5 teams who currently sit with a sub .500 record, and those clubs don't exactly excel at stopping the run. 4 of the 5 have run defenses ranked outside the top 10.
So not only do the Buccaneers have a chance to get back in the NFC playoff picture, but Martin should continue to put up big time rushing numbers.
Meaning, the Offensive Rookie of the Year race just got real interesting.