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Buccaneers' Lovie Smith: 'The running game is the quarterback's best friend'

TAMPA, Fla. -- To Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, his offense's true identity was revealed Sunday when totaling a season-high 183 yards rushing in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"I don't think there's any doubt," Smith said.

"We were in two-back [formations] a lot of the time. They had eight men in the box. We're running it. They know it, and then you can still run it. Yes, that just sets up everything else. And of course, the running game is the quarterback's best friend. ... We were able to get all of that going yesterday."

Doug Martin, who ran for 123 yards and scored three touchdowns, was a large reason for the offensive momentum. Per ESPN Stats & Information, it marked his first multi-touchdown game since he had two against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12 of the 2012 season.

Martin already has run for 405 yards on 90 carries this year. By comparison, he had 494 yards on 134 carries in 11 games last season.

"When I go into a game, I just think about if I do my job and play hard, then everything else will fall into place," Martin said Sunday. "I find a way to do my job and just keep on punching and something, eventually, is going to pop."

The running game's success benefited quarterback Jameis Winston. The rookie played with composure Sunday, completing 13 of 19 passes for 209 yards with one touchdown. It was just his second game without an interception this season, and it was a strong recovery after he threw four picks in a loss to Carolina in Week 4.

In addition to Martin's output, second-year running back Charles Sims had a season-high 51 yards on 12 carries Sunday against the NFL's fourth-best run defense. The more both rushers produce, the easier Winston's NFL transition should be.

"He's a great asset to this team," Winston said of Martin on Sunday, "and I believe the way that he and Charles Sims, how they helped each other out, is special."

On Monday, Smith credited strong offensive line play for the rushing lanes enjoyed by Martin and Sims. With two rookie starters -- right guard Ali Marpet and left tackle Donovan Smith -- the group began as a question mark to begin the season. But after the Bucs totaled 324 combined yards on the ground the past two weeks, consider Lovie Smith pleased.

"It's just one-on-one [blocking], and you have a winner each play," Smith said. "And we've won a majority of the time this year."