Skip to main content

Sacrifice Punt: Bills Special Teams & Punter Sam Martin Force Titans Muffs

Sam Martin's first day on the Bills' punting job proved surprisingly lucrative. Monday night against the Titans marked the first time the Bills punted in four regular-season games.

Sam Martin is probably grateful that downsizing isn't a concept with the Buffalo Bills. If it was, his department probably would've been made redundant a while ago. 

Martin, a long-tenured NFL punter, made his Buffalo debut in the Bills' 41-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. He perhaps became an instant Buffalo folk legend for what his workload entailed. 

While punts are de facto admissions of surrender on the gridiron, Martin's boots played into the aura of dominance that has graced the Bills' early 2022 endeavors. With aggression and scoring helping Buffalo (2-0) build a 24-7 lead, the hapless Titans finally forced a stop in the middle stages of the third quarter, bringing Martin and his men on the field. 

A special-teams play causing chaos in a matchup between the Bills and Titans? It's been done before, but Buffalo flipped the script on Monday, admittedly on a much smaller scale. 

Martin's debut was muffed by Titans returner Kyle Philips and subsequently recovered by linebacker Tyrel Dodson, igniting the Buffalo celebration even further. Though the Bills' toned-down offense mustered only a field with the prime field position, it kept their feet on the gas pedal en route to the dominant triumph. 

The former Denver Broncos punter, signed late in the offseason in the wake of the Matt Araiza sexual assault allegations, and his coverage group later forced another muff, this one from the arms of Amani Hooker at his own 7-yard line, though it was swiftly recovered by the Titans in a rare break for the visitors. Nonetheless, it came through big when Tennessee lost a fumble in Bills territory on the next possession. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Including one last punt when Buffalo's backups embarked on a lazy drive at the end of the game and the original muff that was lost at Tennessee's 20, all three of Martin's attempts landed within the shadow of the opponent's goal post. It'd perhaps be understandable for the Bills to be relatively lazy in a certain area, especially one of offensive surrender, but has only added to their dominance. 

In the early stages, Martin is fulfilling the promise that former and current teammate Von Miller saw in him when they spend several lucrative seasons in the Rockies together. Though a contract dispute brought his time in Denver to an end, Martin said he was more than happy to take a team-friendly deal in Western New York because of the promising build of the last few seasons. 

"There are a lot of things more important to me than technically the money," Martin said upon his Buffalo entry, per WROC-TV. "One of them is being on a team of this caliber. And just the culture here. A lot of things played into it. Money wasn’t necessarily a factor in where I wanted to be, where I wanted to play, and where I thought was the best fit for me as a player.”

Pleased with the progress at Highmark Stadium, Martin is now playing an active role in such victorious affairs ... even if his prescience isn't called upon often. 

Martin and the Bills will return to action on Sunday when they open AFC East play against the Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET, Fox). 

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

You're a member of Bills Mafia. Hungry for more Buffalo coverage? Read here.