For all the talk about rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the key question for the Tampa Bay Bucs is this:
If they cannot run, can they win?
So far, you can make a fine case that it’s tailback Doug Martin who has led the Bucs to their wins against New Orleans and Jacksonville with Winston playing the supporting role. Martin had 78 yards against the Saints and 123 against the Jags.
Winston has thrown only 40 passes in the two wins, barely breaking the 200-yard barrier each time. Instead, the Bucs focused on field position, running and defense.
Oh, Winston’s time is coming. There will come a game when the opponent works overtime to take the run away and forces the ball into his hands, and Winston will have to throw it 40 times or so. But this year, the comeback of Martin has been bigger than the breakout of Winston.
Could it happen Sunday, when the Bucs visit the Washington Redskins? Perhaps. The Redskins are eighth in the NFL in defense and 10th against the run.