OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned to big-play rookie Doug Martin to pull away in the second half, yet still needed one key defensive play to hold off the Oakland Raiders.
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 homecoming for the Bucs (4-4) by scoring on runs of 1, 45, 67 and 70 yards as he gashed what had been an improved run defense for the Raiders (3-5) the past few weeks.
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.
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 a leg 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.
Martin then ran three straight times to score his fourth touchdown from 1 yard out to 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 coach Greg Schiano’s first season to match last season’s win total.
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.
Along with the loss, the Raiders had to deal with another injury to McFadden, who left in the second quarter because of his leg. 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.
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.
Oakland had scored first after Lamarr Houston blocked a 35-yd field goal attempt by Connor Barth and returned it 34 yards to set up Sebastian Janikowski’s 29-yard field goal.
The Bucs answered when Freeman found Vincent Jackson behind the Oakland defense for a 64-yard pass on third-and-15. That set up a 20-yard TD pass to Jackson, who beat cornerback Michael Huff on the play.
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