The New Orleans Saints came up with a less-than-ideal final regular season performance going into the playoffs, but don’t blame any part of it on rookie running back Alvin Kamara.
After the Bucs found pay dirt on the Week 17 matchup’s opening drive, Kamara fielded the ensuing kickoff six yards deep into the end zone. For a moment he considered dropping to a knee for a touchback. Judging by the way the rest of the Saints offense would play the rest of the way, he made the right decision to try and take it to the house himself.
He was successful, going the full 106 yards.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 31, 2017
“It was blocked up perfect,” Kamara said of the long run. “We worked it all week. We knew it would be open, so kudos to those guys up front blocking.
“My job is easy. They’re the ones that have to get up there and block and do the dirty work. I just run.”
Added right guard Larry Warford:
It was actually pretty funny because we were standing on the sideline, and I’m just watching it. He hesitates a little bit, and it’s a deep kick and so you think he’s going to stop and just take a knee. Then, he hesitated and then ran it out.
And all you hear on the sideline is, ‘Oh my god,’ right when he does it. It’s just like, “No!” Then, you see what (Kamara) saw, and it’s like, “Oh my god!” This kid is unreal, man. It was pretty funny and got us going a little bit.
Once the New Orleans’ offense finally found the turf, Kamara kept eluding Buccaneers, amassing 119 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown in his team’s 31-24 loss. Saints not named Kamara rushed 17 times for just 48 yards and were targeted 22 times for 16 catches and 161 yards.
A win would have given the Saints the NFC’s three seed and a first-round date with the sixth-seeded Atlanta Falcons. Now they’re fourth and will host the division-rival Carolina Panthers, who finished the year with an identical 11-5 record.