The New Orleans Saints have already been the most impressive team in the NFL this year and may have learned how to be even better over the last two weeks.
The New Orleans Saints have already proven more than enough to be considered one of the top teams in the National Football League. New Orleans has overcome every hurdle thrown its way and has passed every single test.
The Saints did not let losing Drew Brees for five weeks derail their season. Instead, the Saints went 5-0 in that stretch, three of which were won over playoff teams from last season.
The team has also been without Alvin Kamara over the last two weeks and has won both games definitively. without him. One of which was with Drew Brees, but we have yet again learned something about the team with a star player out.
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With Brees out, we learned that the Saints’ defense is much better than anyone gave them credit for and is one of the best in the league. With Kamara out, we have learned that the team might need to deploy a slightly different offensive gameplan.
Latavius Murray has been nothing short of great while Kamara has been out and has proved that he is much more than Kamara’s backup. Murray has 221 rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns over the last two weeks. He also has 86 receiving yards on 14 receptions with a touchdown.
Murray has done something over the last two weeks that Alvin Kamara is yet to do this season. In fact, Murray has done something that Kamara has never done in his entire career.
He carried the ball more than 20 times in both of these games. Kamara’s career-high for carries is 19, his high this season is 18.
There are multiple reasons for this. First is that he has been splitting carries with Mark Ingram for two years and Murray this year. However, Murray had only 17 combined carries the first four weeks of the season, so Kamara had his chances.
Another reason is that Kamara is such a threat in the passing game and the team has a Hall of Fame quarterback. And with Brees out, the Saints needed Kamara to be that safety blanket for Teddy Bridgewater.
But still, it is pretty crazy to think that Kamara has never rushed the ball 20 or more times. And in the two games in which a Saints’ back has carried the ball 20 or more times, the Saints have blown the opposition out of the water.
Granted, part of the reason for the increased carries is that the Saints were up for most of the game and wanted to just waste clock away but Kamara has had plenty of chances in blowout wins to do the very same thing.
However, in the Saints’ first touchdown drive against the Cardinals Murray ran the ball five times in seven plays. In the next touchdown drive, he ran the ball two of five plays and caught the touchdown pass.
Murray has been prolonging drives and has proved what we all know to already be true: the running game behind this offensive line is as reliable as can be. As Drew Brees gets higher up in age, and the season goes on, the Saints absolutely should be running the ball more than they have been.
Kamara may still not get that 20-attempt game with Murray’s great performances in the last two weeks. But whether it is Kamara or Murray, the New Orleans Saints can be even better if they run the ball more than they already do.