Another career snapshot of Curtis Martin, who is in the running to be a first-ballot inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Feb. 5 in Dallas:
On Dec. 3, 2000, the 8-4 Jets were in need of just a few more wins to make the playoffs. When the Indianapolis Colts (7-5), then their AFC East rivals, came to town, Curtis Martin knew that he and the Jets needed to make a statement.
On the Friday before the game, Martin and quarterback Vinny Testaverde gave the team a heartfelt speech after practice. The generally quiet Martin lit a fire and then sparked a 27-17 victory at the Meadowlands with a franchise-record rushing effort.
“I do more talking than what it appears,” Martin said after the game. “When it’s necessary, I’m not a guy who wastes words. I speak when I need to.”
Martin also rolled for a career-high and Jets-franchise record 203 rushing yards on 30 carries. During the first half alone he ran for 152 yards, including 93 second-quarter yards. Martin’s consistency and ability to move the chains helped the Jets muster 26 first downs for the game, 11 on the ground, and eat up a whopping 41:25 of the game clock against Peyton Manning and the Colts.
Not only did Martin bruise through the offensive line with power but he also did it with speed and style, as he ripped off runs of 55 yards and 36 yards in the first half, which helped boost his average to 6.8 yards per carry on the day.
No. 28’s most important work, however, came in the fourth quarter as the Green & White’s 20-0 lead had dwindled to 20-17. Taking advantage of an Indianapolis turnover, Martin ran over right tackle for a 2-yard touchdown with 3:17 to go that put the game out of reach.
“The thing that I am happy about is I feel I had a major part in this win,” Martin said. “We brought our lunchpails to work and we worked hard on the running game and it paid off.”
Visit the Curtis Martin for Hall of Fame page
Tags: Curtis Martin, Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning, Vinny Testaverde
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