"They had eight men in the box. We're running it. They know it, and then you can still run it," Lovie Smith said, via ESPN.com. "Yes, that just sets up everything else. And of course, the running game is the quarterback's best friend. ... We were able to get all of that going yesterday."
His stat line was ridiculous: 24 carries, 123 rushing yards, 2 rush TD; 3 receptions, 35 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD; 158 total scrimmage yards.
Some of the runs were even more absurdly awesome than the stats show. Exhibit A:
Hello, juke button, how have you been?
Martin took advantage of a banged up Jacksonville defense without leading tackler Paul Posluszny, but his performance Sunday wasn't an aberration.
The tailback has put up back-to-back 100-plus yard games, averaging 5.2 yards per carry on 20-plus attempts per game in those contests.
On Sunday, the Bucs' beleaguered offensive line was able to create space for Martin to scamper, but even when he's had to do it on his own behind a sieve line, the fourth-year back has been marvelous this season.
The Bucs didn't pick up the fifth year of the former first-round pick's contract in hopes it would spark a fire. Martin responded by running like he is being chased by flames.
His game film shows a slimmed-down runner that has his quick cut and burst back. Martin is blowing through arm tackles and making second-level defenders look silly with his combination of elusiveness and strength.
Martin's 405 rushing yards puts him in a three-way for second in the NFL. Pro Football Focus charted him with 24 total broken tackles, fourth most among running backs this season. He also has six runs of 15-plus yards this season.
With rookie Jameis Winston under center, the Bucs need to lean on Martin heavily as a mechanism to allow the young quarterback to progress without the weight of carrying an offense. The offensive line might not open as many holes every week as it did Sunday, but cutting Martin loose, even against stout fronts, is the best way for Lovie Smith's team to take a step forward in 2015.