Saints backfield: Competition never hurt anyone
Rewind to last month, the Seahawks were in town and the Mark Ingram train came to a screeching halt as he fumbles the ball. Ingram ends the game with 3 carries for 5 yards… 5 yards.
Ingram sat on the bench as his teammate, Tim Hightower, had a great day against a tough Seahawk defense. Hightower ran for 102 yards on 26 attempts, the best rushing performance from a Saints running back though the eight weeks of regular season play.
After Hightower’s commendable performance, it was up to Ingram to prove if he belonged in the backfield, and boy did he deliver. One week later he blasted through the 49ers’ defense for a 75-yard run and a touchdown.
Pre-Seahawks Game includes all seven games plus the Seahawks game. Post-Seahawks Game includes the last four games played against the 49ers, Broncos, Panthers, and Rams.
The damage done by the duo running backs in the last four games has surpassed any damage they did in the first seven games of the season.
The emergence of Hightower has allowed this backfield to evolve. The rushing game has become a bigger factor in recent game.
Ingram did not want to become a bench warmer for too long. Seeing Hightower’s success against the Seattle Seahawks lit a fire in Ingram’s competitive nature. Ingram came back ready to show what he was made up of. Ever since the Saints’ backfield went from a designated back to a running back by committee, it has improved as a unit. The Saints now have multiple threats in the backfield, which has allowed the backs to get plenty of rest and unleash their wrath in game.
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But let’s keep this in perspective. Two of the last four games have been booming performances by the backfield. The backfield is explosive enough to take over a game, but the inconsistency in the backfield led to some struggles for the offense. The duo-backs were held under 100 rushing yards against the Broncos and Panthers. If this backfield wants to prove it has truly improved, it needs to have consistent performances and become match-up proof for the rest of the season.
The offense will have a tough task keeping the Saints in the game this Sunday against Matt Stafford and the Lions. The Saint’s backfield will need to show up and give Drew Brees the option of play action to make some big plays.