Odds & Ends-Volume 20

Doug Martin has become the NFL’s best kept secret this season. Drafted by Tampa Bay in the late first round of this year’ draft out of Boise State, Martin has been solid for the Buccaneers who needed an upgrade at running back.

In Sunday’s game against the Raiders, Martin set the Buccaneers franchise record for rushing yards in a game with 251 yards and touchdowns in a game with four, propelling Tampa Bay to a 42-32 win in front of his hometown. Martin also became the first player in NFL history to score touchdown runs of 70-plus, 45-plus, and 65-plus yards in a game, and is the second player in league history to run for 250-plus yards and four touchdowns in a game. Pretty impressive for a man who has only played eight regular season games.

Doug Martin is a stud of a player who is definitely on his way to a 1,000-plus yard campaign in his rookie year and was a big find for a young team on the rise even if they do have a dirty coach.

One of the surprises this season has been the resurgent Indianapolis Colts.

A year removed from the year Peyton Manning was gone from the team due to injury, the Colts with a rookie quarterback and a bunch of guys many people don’t know are now 5-3 and in second place in the AFC South. Also, their rookie head coach Chuck Pagano is in a fight for his own life as he battles leukemia.

Pagano was present at Sunday’s game against Miami where he saw Andrew Luck throw for 433 yards, breaking Cam Newton’s record for yards thrown by a rookie quarterback set last year, as the Colts beat the Dolphins 23-20. After the game, Pagano spoke to his team.

“I mentioned before the game that you guys were living in a vision, and you weren’t living in circumstances,” Pagano said, surrounded by his players and with interim Bruce Arians at his side after the Colts’ third straight win. “You know where they had us in the beginning, every last one of them. But you refused to live in circumstances and you decided consciously as a team and as a family to live in a vision, and that’s why you bring things home like what you bring home today. That’s why you’re already champions and well on your way.”

The Colts aren’t just playing for their ill coach, they’re playing for themselves, playing in front of critics who said they wouldn’t be a competitive team this year. They are playing some competitive football and winning games and proving to many that they’ve improved greatly and will continue to.

The Chicago Bears put the hurt on the Tennessee Titans Sunday by a score of 51-20. The Titans committed five turnovers and at times couldn’t line up correctly.

The Titans’ owner, Bud Adams was not happy with his team’s performance saying his team was “grossly outclassed”.

“In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans,” Adams said to The Tennessean in Nashville. “We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish today.

“At this time, all aspects of the organization will be closely evaluated, including front office, coaches and players over the next seven games. If performance and competitiveness does not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team.”

It definitely does not look good in Nashville. Many people thought the Titans might make the playoffs following a surprise 9-7 season last year barely missing the postseason. At 3-6, it is going to take a lot of improvement for this team to maybe be on the brink of postseason let alone the discussion of it. Coach Mike Munchak may be on the hot seat this year, but I think he might get one more year to turn it around.

As if the New Orleans Saints didn’t have enough controversy surrounding them this last year, they now may not get their head coach Sean Payton back next year.

The NFL has voided Payton’s contract extension he received back in 2011, freeing him to go anywhere he wants to next year. Already there is speculation that he may be a candidate for the Dallas Cowboys job should Jason Garrett not survive the season.

I think he should and will stay. He’s definitely proved that the Saints aren’t much without him and I think it would mean a lot to his star quarterback Drew Brees if he did. If Payton left and did decide to go to Dallas or anywhere else, I think it might get Brees to somehow opt out of his deal he held out for so long to get this season. I don’t really see him leaving and going elsewhere, he seems to like being there and has a great relationship with owner Tom Benson. But you never know what’s going through anyone’s mind, especially when they’ve sat out a year like Payton has.

By the way, you can catch me and my friend DJ Mappquest on Sports Madness, this Tuesday from 6-7pm Pacific Time on kssu.com, Sacramento State Student Radio.

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