OAKLAND — Adrian Peterson ... Walter Payton ... O.J. Simpson ... Doug Martin?
Yep, thanks to the Raiders defense, the Buccaneers rookie now stands aside some of the greatest running backs to play in the NFL, at least in terms of single-game production.
Martin, who grew up in Oakland and graduated from St. Mary's College High before playing at Boise State, ran for 251 yards in Tampa Bay's 42-32 victory on Sunday, tying Mike Anderson for the 10th-best performance in league history.
It was the most ever by a Buccaneer, the most ever in Oakland, and most in the NFL this season.
“He broke a lot of tackles today,” Raiders defensive end Dave Tollefson said. “ ... We really didn't do a good job of getting him down. Seems like he got through that first wave. And we were hitting him. This time of year, obviously you can't tackle at practice. But it's something we need to work on.”
The game developed slowly, the Raiders leading 10-7 at halftime. The second half got wild, with Martin ripping off big run after big run, and Oakland frequently countering with Carson Palmer's passes.
With star halfback Darren McFadden and backup Mike Goodson both on the bench with injuries, the Raiders had little choice but to keep the ball in the air, and for a while it looked like a blessing. When Palmer hit Marcel Reece for a 13-yard yard touchdown pass with 3:51 remaining — and followed with a jump-ball completion to Juron Criner for the 2-point conversion — the score was 35-32 and the O.co Coliseum crowd was finally invigorated.
The Raiders had two more possessions after that, but both of them ended with Palmer throwing interceptions — a play on which the quarterback and wide receiver Denarius Moore had different notions and the ball wound up going right to safety Ahmad Black, and a deep pass intended for Rod Streater that was caught by cornerback E.J. Biggers.