OAKLAND, Calif. — Doug Martin never had a homecoming like this during his stellar college career at Boise State.
Martin rushed for a franchise-record 251 yards and four touchdowns and Ahmad Black intercepted a Carson Palmer pass after Oakland had cut an 18-point deficit to three late in the fourth quarter as the Bucs beat the Raiders 42-32 on Sunday.
Martin, who was born in Oakland and went to high school in nearby Stockton, had a memorable return home for the Bucs (4-4) by scoring on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards in front of more than 60 friends and family members.
“Everybody was there. It was awesome,” he said. “It’s surreal right now. I’m just doing my job out there. I’m honored.”
Martin, the 31st pick in April out of Boise State, became the first back since at least 1940 to score on three TD runs of at least 45 yards in one game, according to STATS LLC.
He finished 45 yards shy of tying Adrian Peterson’s single game record of 296 set in his rookie season in 2007 and joined Denver’s Mike Anderson as the only backs with at least 250 yards rushing and four TDs in a single game.
Martin had 214 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns last week in Minnesota to cap a month in which he was the NFL’s top offensive rookie.
He was even better against the Raiders.
“That was a great, great performance,” coach Greg Schiano said. “After having a big outing in Minnesota on national TV and winning some awards you wonder how the young guys is going to handle the success. This test he stepped up and met the challenge for sure.”
But Tampa Bay still struggled to hold onto an 18-point, fourth-quarter lead against an Oakland team that lost star running back Darren McFadden to an ankle injury late in the first half.
Palmer threw for 414 yards and had three of his four touchdowns in the fourth quarter as Oakland cut the Bucs lead to 35-32 with 3:51 to go.
The Raiders then got a defensive stop and took over at their 38 with 2:42 to play. But on second down, Palmer threw off-target looking for Rod Streater down the left sideline and Black came up with the second of Palmer’s three interceptions.
“Mistakes like that you can’t overcome and you can’t make and me being the quarterback you can’t do that,” Palmer said. “I can’t throw that ball. You just need to take a sack sometimes if things are off of the same page and come back the next play.”
Martin then ran three straight times to score his fourth touchdown and put the game away.
Josh Freeman threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns as Tampa Bay scored at least 28 points for a franchise-record fourth straight game and reached .500 at the midpoint of Schiano’s first season to match last season’s win total.
“It’s fun, man,” said receiver Vincent Jackson, who scored Tampa’s first touchdown. “We have a lot of different weapons. The coaches do a great job of just giving teams different looks, spreading the ball around. … It’s fun to play in an offense like this that can be very explosive.
The Raiders, coming off two straight victories against one-win Jacksonville and Kansas City, had no answers for Martin and the Bucs, allowing the three long runs in the second half when Martin gained 220 of his yards.
“They were kind of backbreaking scores there late, long runs after long runs,” defensive end Dave Tollefson said. “We just have to get some stuff cleaned up. I don’t think they’ve burnt down the facility in Alameda yet. I’m not trying to make light of it. We’ve got another week, and the crazy thing is we’re still in this thing, in the division.”
Along with the loss, the Raiders had to deal with another injury to McFadden, who left in the second quarter because of his ankle. X-rays were negative but McFadden did not return and his status was unknown. He missed 19 games in his first four seasons with foot, toe, shoulder, knee and hamstring injuries.
But McFadden would have been no help trying to stop Martin, who broke James Wilder’s franchise record of 219 yards in 1983 despite the absence of All Pro guard Carl Nicks, who was placed on injured reserve last week with a left toe injury.
Martin helped break open what had been a close game with his huge second half. He gave Tampa Bay the lead for good with a 45-yard TD run on the first possession of the second quarter and then added the two other long runs as he continually faked out the Raiders’ front seven and outran their usually speedy secondary.
“He’s turned into a heck of a player here these last two weeks,” Bucs safety Ronde Barber said. “He’s really jumped onto the scene, just the way he’s handled the pressure that he’s had to be the main guy here in our offense these past couple of weeks. It’s impressive, man.”
The Raiders scored in the final two minutes of the first half for the eighth straight game this season to take a 10-7 lead at the break on a 25-yard TD pass from Palmer to rookie Rod Streater.
NOTES: Tampa Bay is averaging 477 yards and 36 points per game over the past four contests. … Oakland DE Lamarr Houston blocked a 35-yd field goal attempt by Connor Barth in the first quarter to set up an Oakland field goal. … The most yards rushing against the Raiders is 266 by Seattle’s Shaun Alexander in 2001.