Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie running back Doug Martin showed off plenty of fancy footwork dancing in the end zone after each of his four touchdown runs Sunday in Oakland.
But head coach Greg Schiano is more impressed with Martin's footwork dancing in the backfield as Martin became the first player in NFL history to break off three touchdown run of at least 45 yards in the same game. Including touchdown runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards, Martin finished off his franchise-record performance of 251 yards rushing with seven runs of 10 or more yards.
"A lot of those plays, you see he comes popping out of there,'' Schiano said. "Good backs, when they run like that they kind of pop their feet for a second if (the hole) isn't there right at first and then they burst. Guys that are just never going to be good backs, they will run right into the blocker and it's a two-yard run.
"And it's just a momentary hesitation. When I talk about that patience that he has, it's patience that he can feel when to slow it down and when not to slow it down. That's hard to teach.''
That was certainly evident in the second half as Martin burst out from behind a revamped offensive line and ran into the record book. The former Boise State tailback didn't realize how special the day was until he picked up his phone shortly afterward.
"Getting all the texts messages and everyone telling me all the accomplishments that I had, I guess the records that I broke,'' Martin said.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy appreciated the yards and points Martin produced, comparing it to his college days at Oklahoma when he was teammates with Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray. McCoy joked, however, that maybe Martin could have spaced them out a little more to allow the defensive players to catch their breath on the sideline.
"I was kind of messed up because I was worried about what we had to do on defense, and I thought, 'Didn't we just sit down?' " McCoy said. "I was trying to talk to the guys and you hear (the crowd), and I look up and, 'Is he going again?' So it was amazing what he was doing.''
Producing more than yards
QB Josh Freeman has made strides this season in the passing game, especially the past month, when the Buccaneers offense has been a well-oiled machine piling up points and yards.
But part of that is Freeman's ability to make the proper reads and not force plays. Halfway through the season, he has thrown 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.
"I think he is understanding what is most important and that's the football,'' Schiano said. "Sometimes that allows you to have 400-yard passing games and other times it doesn't. … Overall, he is moving and operating the offense the way we want him to. And he's doing the most critical thing and that's taking care of the football.
"If you can do that, you can have a chance to win every week.''
Tampa Bay entered Sunday's game with plenty of question marks surrounding the offensive line, which is now absent two Pro Bowl guards in Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks, both out for the season with injuries. Yet, the Buccaneers scored at least 40 points in a game for the first time since the Super Bowl victory against Oakland in 2003, even if it was unexpected.
"Those are two premier players in this league, you can't replace guys like that,'' said Jeremy Zuttah, who moved from center to fill Nicks' spot at left guard. "Everybody just has to do a little bit of a better job when people like that go down.''