And so far, the rookie who leads the NFL with 6.0 yards per rush and leads the Saints with five touchdowns has absolutely lived up to that lofty hype.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Kamara said when asked about how pretty much everyone else in the building thought he was down. “I was just smelling the end zone. I was like, ‘Man, I gotta get in here.’ Like redemption (for the first lost fumble of his career on the previous drive). So I was happy I got in there.”
Evans grabbed Kamara around the waist near the 12-yard line. But Kamara planted his hand in the ground before his knee hit. Then he made a sharp cutback as Evans went flying off him. He also made Buccaneers cornerback Ryan Smith whiff on the cutback. Then he followed a terrific block by Saints receiver Michael Thomas against defensive tackle Clinton McDonald into the end zone.
The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara laughed when asked about his special level of balance -- something he said he has been asked about before.
“I mean, I’ve always had pretty good balance. But I can’t really explain it,” Kamara said. “It’s just like that energy, when you see that end zone, I’m trying to get in there by any means.”
Kamara scored two touchdowns in Sunday’s 30-10 rout over the Buccaneers. But Ingram, the other part of New Orleans' dynamic backfield duo, was no slouch himself. Ingram rushed 16 times for 77 yards -- a nice bounce-back after he had lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter of last week’s win over Chicago.
I wondered if Ingram's fumbles might affect the pecking order in New Orleans’ backfield. Kamara did get the start Sunday and the first three carries, but they quickly began mixing and matching as usual.
Kamara’s stellar play should only increase his workload going forward. But clearly the Saints will keep relying heavily on both backs.
Ingram ranks 10th in the NFL among running backs with 733 yards from scrimmage. Kamara ranks 13th with 652 yards from scrimmage.
“Listen, Alvin is doing a lot of good things. He’s very versatile. He can be in the game at any moment, in any personnel group,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “We feel comfortable with his skill set -- as we do with Mark. But it’s a great one-two punch.”