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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Bolts Busy Game Planning for Red-Hot Martin
The Chargers had a rare Sunday off to sit back, relax and watch some football.
What they saw out of Tampa Bay’s rookie running back Doug Martin, who they face next, certainly caught their attention.
“I saw most of their game, and he looks very, very good,” said Atari Bigby, who leads the team with 58 tackles. “He’s doing his thing right now. He’s a hard guy to tackle. He’s shifty and can break out of tackles. He’s got great balance and is a guy who can hide out behind his offensive line and then squirt out and take it to the house. “
Martin certainly did all that Sunday afternoon, setting a Buccaneers franchise record with 251-rushing yards and four touchdowns to lead Tampa Bay to a 42-32 victory over the Oakland Raiders. The performance comes on the heels of another impressive one where he posted 135 yards on the ground, 79 through the air and a pair of scores against the Minnesota Vikings.
“He’s explosive, strong and very balanced,” said Eric Weddle. “He can catch the ball out of the backfield and make you miss. You’ve got to be balanced and you’ve got to wrap him up with 11 guys to the ball, especially this week because he’s really playing well. They’re making holes for him and he’s got that burst that you see from really good backs.”
Defenders aren’t the only ones who have taken notice of what Martin has done lately, as Philip Rivers too has been impressed by the 5-foot-9, 223-pound rookie.
“He’s been awesome,” said Rivers. “I was able to watch some of the Thursday night game when they played Minnesota, and yesterday he made some huge runs putting up 250-yards rushing. So he’s certainly an impressive runner.”
While the Chargers are busy implementing a game plan to limit Martin, according to the players, what they must do is rather simple; the team must get all 11 defenders converging on the running back.
“We have to gang tackle him,” said Bigby. “If we stay in our gapes and maintain our lanes and get all 11 of us to the ball, I’m confident we will be able to stop him.”
Donald Butler, who trails only Bigby in total tackles with 55, firmly stated that as long as the Chargers continue to do the things they’ve done thus far this season, they should be able to handle all Martin has to offer.
“We just have to play sound, fundamental defense and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ve been real good against the run all year long, so we’ve got to keep that going. If we get 11 guys to the ball, I think we can handle him.”