Barber rushed 17 times for 71 yards and a touchdown while also securing two of four targets for 18 yards in Sunday's 31-24 win over the Saints. He also fumbled once but recovered. As expected, Barber was the clear-cut lead back once again for the season finale, as Doug Martin logged just three rushes. The second-year back eclipsed 4.0 yards per carry for the fourth time in the last five contests, and his first-quarter rushing touchdown was his first since Week 12. The Auburn product demonstrated that he was aptly capable of handling lead-back duties over the final five games of the season, and as an exclusive-rights free agent heading into 2018, he's likely to enter OTAs atop the depth chart.
Barber rushed 13 times for 51 yards and brought in both of his targets for four yards in Sunday's 22-19 loss to the Panthers. Barber once again helmed the Buccaneers backfield, despite the fact that Doug Martin was back in uniform after being made a healthy scratch Week 15. The second-year running back ran with his trademark decisiveness, but Tampa was in catch-up mode in the second half, capping his opportunities overall. Given the disparity of performance between Barber and Martin, the former appears headed for another starting assignment in the regular-season finale versus the Saints next Sunday.
Barber rushed 13 times for 53 yards and caught all three of his targets for 15 yards, but he also lost a fumble in Monday night's 24-21 defeat against the Falcons. Barber was handed the start in the wake of Doug Martin being deactivated, but considering he entered Monday following 40 touches the prior two weeks, his significant workload wasn't anything new. Although his 4.1 yards per carry gave him a third straight game with at least that many on average, his second-quarter fumble hurt his performance. Given his recent production, however, Barber should remain in the mix even if Martin returns for Week 16's trip to Carolina.
The Buccaneers are expected to have Barber in the starting lineup Monday against the Falcons, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Getting the nod Week 13 when Doug Martin sat out due to a concussion, Barber reeled off 102 yards on 23 carries and also tacked on four receptions on as many targets for 41 yards. With Martin back in the lineup last weekend versus the Lions, Barber outgained Martin, 63 to 50, in yards from scrimmage, which may have been precipitated by Martin's second-quarter fumble. On this occasion, expect Barber to handle most of the running back reps, but Martin likely will pick up a handful of touches.
The Buccaneers do not plan on naming a clear-cut starter between Barber and Doug Martin for Monday night's game against the Falcons, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Barber was impressive for a second consecutive game in Week 14 against the Lions, taking the reins of the Buccaneers' backfield in the second half and finishing with 58 yards on 12 carries. That tally came on the heels of a career-best 23-carry, 102-yard effort in Week 13, a contest in which Barber served as the clear-cut lead back when Martin was out with a concussion. With Tampa playing out the string at 4-9, head coach Dirk Koetter appears perfectly willing to ride whomever has the hot hand between these ball carriers, potentially affording Barber a robust workload.
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