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Buccaneers' rookie RB Martin enjoys breakout game

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Buccaneers' rookie RB Martin enjoys breakout game

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did more than shake off a nine-game losing streak at Minnesota on Thursday night.

They also put to rest questions about trading up into the first round last spring to draft 5-foot-9, 223-pound running back Doug Martin out of Boise State.

Martin broke out with a huge game in the Bucs' 36-19 victory against the Vikings, running for 135 yards and a touchdown and sprinting 64 yards with a screen pass for another touchdown. Martin was the largest of several impressive offensive factors in Tampa Bay's first victory on the road in more than a year.

``From the beginning we've been saying this guy's got some special abilities,'' head coach Greg Schiano said Friday. ``He just keeps getting better and better and I think things are slowing down for him like they do often-times for very talented rookies.''

Martin was having a decent rookie year through his first six games, but Thursday night's game vaulted him up to eighth place on the NFL rushing list with 543 yards.

``I wasn't really aware that this was going to be a breakout game,'' he said Thursday night. ``I just wanted to come in and focus on my job and do my job and the rest would take care of itself.''

A 41-yard run early in the game was Martin's first clue that this could be a special night for him, but he says he is still adjusting.

``As a rookie running back it is hard to come from college to the NFL,'' he said. ``The speed of the game has definitely increased. It's a feel thing; you have got to have that rhythm as a running back and get comfortable in the offense and have that game-time experience. I believe I'm definitely there, right where I need to be.''

The Bucs, who have 10 days to prepare for their next game at Oakland, will be searching for the right balance of getting the most out of Martin without wearing him down. He had 29 carries Thursday night and has 129 for the season.

``We do keep a close eye it because we don't want to find him in the latter part of the game unable to go, or get him bumped up,'' Schiano said. ``But the really special backs that I've been around, they want it and they get in the groove and they feel it.

``I could see that Doug was feeling it and he wanted carries. Now I also saw when he got gassed a little bit and I thought Earnest (Byner, the Bucs' running back coach) did a good job of getting him out when he could sense that. We're going to have to do a good job of regulating his carries, but . . . the last thing you want to do is take your guy off the field when he's feeling it because those guys get stronger.''

Notes: The Bucs' last victory on the road had been on Sept. 18, 2011, also at Minnesota . . . Michael Koenen's NFL-record streak of 21 straight touchbacks ended Thursday night when the Vikings finally ran a kickoff out of the end zone. When told it was the longest streak since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970, the 46-year-old Schiano replied: ``What merger? That's a record that will probably last for a while.''

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Summer Guide: The top pizza places in and around Washington, D.C.

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NBC Sports Washington

Summer Guide: The top pizza places in and around Washington, D.C.

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that highlighted the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and the FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we provided some spots around Nationals Park and Camden Yards too. 

With summer 2019 halfway over, now is the time to highlight some go-to spots for pizza in and around the district.

Here are, in no particular order, some of the top pizzerias in and around Washington, D.C.

Etto, 1541 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005

  • Logan Circle
  • With veggies specials and pizza alike, the leisurely atmosphere at Etto provides a needed respite from the hustle of D.C.
  • Check out the roasted cauliflower pizza, or the seasonal zucchini and squash blossoms pie, two non-traditional menu options

 

Wiseguy Pizza, 300 Massachusetts Ave NW, Ste 1, Washington, DC 20001

  • Near the Judiciary Square Metro stop.
  • Wiseguy owner Tony Erol perfected a New York-style pizza without making it chock-full of grease, ensuring a crispy slice. 
  • Between the expected Buffalo chicken pizza and the unexpected paneer tikka pie, Wiseguy's menu appeals to many palates. 

 

Menomale Pizza Napoletana, 2711 12th St. NE, Washington, DC 20018

  • Between the Rhode Island Ave and Brookland Metro stops.
  • Neapolitan pizzas are Menomale's specialty, but with stellar crust the pizzeria also produces delicious calzones and sandwiches.
  • Take a look at the menu, which houses all the tasty carb-loaded food, plus a surprising range of craft beers. 

 

2 Amys Neapolitan Pizzeria, 3715 Macomb St. NW, Washington DC 20016

  • Near Washington National Cathedral
  • 2 Amys' wood-fired pizzas and family-friendly setting combine for an authentic atmosphere.
  • The menu offers some less-known pies, like the Etna 2.0, which in part features fried eggplant. 

 

All-Purpose Riverfront, 79 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • Navy Yard, across from Nationals Park
  • With All-Purpose, chef Mike Friedman revamps classic Italian-American flavors, like his garlic knots coated with a fonduta reminiscent of alfredo. 
  • Head to happy hour on weekdays from 4-7 p.m. for drink and food specials, like the Little Caesar or the Crispy Chicken Wings. 

 

Ghibellina, 1610 14th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009

  • Logan Circle
  • Does $10 pizza happy hour sound appealing? Then head to Ghibellina from 3-6:30 p.m. (or 4-6:30 pm. Monday's).
  • Between pizzas, specialty cocktails and other Italian cuisine, the restaurant and its authentic atmosphere is sure to please. 

 

OUTSIDE OF D.C.

Pupatella, 5104 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22205

  • On the outskirts of Downtown Arlington
  • After growing from a food cart in Ballston, Virginia, Pupatella has grown to a reputable source for classic pizza pies. 
  • Check out the red or white pies, which include the Mimosa and Buffala Bianza pizzas. 

 

Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana, 12207 Darnestown Rd., Gaithersburg, MD 20878

  • Out past Rockville, Maryland
  • While a bit of a trek from inside the district, the variety of pizzas including the Smoky Meatball is sure to make the trip worthwhile. 

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This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

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Isaiah Thomas Instagram

This video of early Thomas Bryant-Isaiah Thomas chemistry should make Wizards fans smile

One of the best parts of the NBA offseason, behind free-agency and the draft, has to be the open run's that go on all summer long. These sessions give an opportunity for NBA players to team up with each other, while also playing alongside high school, college, and overseas talent. 

Some new Wizards teammates, Isaiah Thomas and Thomas Bryant, made their way to the Rico Hines private run in Los Angeles, California to establish some chemistry before training camp opens in late September.  

As seen above, IT is no stranger to sharing the sugar as he finished top 20 in the league in assists per game (5.9) in 2016, the last season he was fully healthy. While TB is one of the most efficient rim-runners in the league, leading the NBA in two-point field goal percentage (68.5) last season. 

Could this be a preview of what to expect come season's tip? Wizards fans sure hope so. 

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