Who Dat? The Saints Two-Headed Rushing Monster: Mark Ingram And Alvin Kamara
The New Orleans Saints are officially the breakout NFL team this season. The case could be made for the Los Angles Rams considering their improvement from last season, but the Saints have had a tougher schedule and are currently riding a seven-game win streak.
Although the Saints’ dominance can be attributed in large part to their defense (they are in the top seven in PPG allowed at only 18.3) the main catalyst has been their running game. They’re the third-ranked rushing team, but the rankings don’t account for the receiving yards their running backs have contributed. Behind their two-headed rushing monster of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, the Saints have quickly become a championship contender.
Ingram is the lead back in this backfield and is a through-the-tackles type runner who overpowers anybody or anything in his way. After starting the season splitting carries with Kamara and Adrian Peterson, Ingram has since exploded after the Peterson trade.
Currently, Ingram is averaging an amazing 4.7 YPC and has scored seven TDs on the season. Since Peterson left, Ingram is averaging 100.4 YPG. Ingram can only get so far in terms of his numbers for the rest of the season since he is still sharing carries with Kamara, who looks to be the more talented runner on this team. Even with this share, I still expect him to finish as a top 10 running back.
Kamara is a rookie who has seemingly come out of nowhere. Coming into the season, we knew he had talent, but with the three-pronged rushing attack to start the season, Kamara didn’t get very many opportunities. As he established himself as the passing down back, Kamara started to receive moderate carries per game, which he made the most of. He has an absurd 6.5 YPC on the season. Currently, he’s averaging 9.8 carries, which he is converting to about 70 yards per game.
His relevancy to being such a vital player is in his pass-catching ability, where he’s averaging 4.66 receptions per game for 41 yards. He has also found his way into the end zone totaling six TDs. Kamara seems to be the far more talented runner, and I only expect his workload to keep increasing. As with Ingram, I expect Kamara to finish as a top 10 running back.
If the Saints continue to stifle their opponents on defense, they can continue to win games by funneling their entire offense through the best running back tandem in the league.