Falcons Run Defense SurprisesNovember 25th, 2012
Doug Martin ran hard today against the Falcons, no evidence of any kind of “rookie wall” in his leg drive, but Martin couldn’t get much going.
The Falcons’ run defense was ranked 26th in the NFL entering the game, likely the Falcons’ biggest weakness, yet Martin was stymied for 50 yards on 21 carries and never broke one long. LeGarrette Blount and D.J. Ware were denied carries.
So what happened?
Joe talked to Erik Lorig after the game and Lorig said he had no insight without watching film. Nothing stood out as a problem, Lorig said.
Maybe Martin’s vision wasn’t sharp? Joe’s reaching here. It was just uncommon to see Martin have a tough day.
Perhaps Martin could have used more work? Following Martin’s best rush of the game, 10 yards to end the third quarter, Martin took a handoff on the next snap and gave the Bucs a 19-17 lead with a one-yard TD run. Then leading 20-17 after E.J. Biggers’ sack/forced fumble, the Bucs recovered the ball on the Falcons’ 36 yard line with 11:23 left in the game. It seemed like the perfect time to pound Martin and see if he could stay hot, and eat some clock and try to grind out a long touchdown drive. But the Bucs didn’t run the ball on that possession and settled for a field goal.
Joe’s just hoping Martin and the offensive line aren’t starting a downward spiral. Sizzling Denver’s run defense, which the Bucs will see next Sunday, is far more stout than the Falcons’.