After trading Adrian Peterson, Mark Ingram was able to find a rhythm to go for 150 total yards & 2 TDs against the Lions. Look for this success to continue moving forward.
This past offseason ESPN’s Mike Triplett reported that Mark Ingram had ambitions of being the NFL’s “most complete back.” After a season of career highs in 2016 (1,043 rushing yards, 1,362 yards from scrimmage, 10 touchdowns and 5.1 yards per carry), who’s to say he wasn’t already?
However, being the most complete back went to the back-burner once Adrian Peterson came to town. The Saints faced a horrid 0-2 start. They struggled running the ball and simply looked confused offensively. During those games, the Saints rushed for a measly 141 total yards (Ingram with 69 yards total). Something was wrong, but they couldn’t pinpoint the issue.
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The issue was facing the truth. Peterson wasn’t going to work in the offense, and they were forcing him out there to try to prove otherwise. They put Peterson out on the field at times where it was evident that Ingram should be. It seemed as if the whole offense was “forced.” There was no style or creativity.
Thankfully, the Saints turned it around to beat the Panthers and the Dolphins and return to .500. However, it was still evident that Peterson and the run game were stuck in the mud. Luckily, the Saints gained enough interest to be able to trade Adrian Peterson. With the David Johnson injury, the Cardinals became high bidders for the 7-time Pro-Bowler.
Starting A Rhythm
The act of trading Peterson should have never been doubted by the Saints fans or staff. It was a great move. It was a mature move, a move an elite team like the Patriots would make. If someone wasn’t performing to their capabilities. You have to stay true to yourself and the team and move them.
The move proved its worth after a hectic 52-38 victory over the Lions. During which, it became evident that the overall running game as well as in form Mark Ingram is here to stay. If there is one thing that I can take from my 21 years of sporting experience, it is that rhythm and momentum is everything.
A player can often surprise you when they feel as if they are an important piece to an overall momentum shift. It is also important to allow players the time to show that they are that piece and to know when they are not. Mark Ingram should be given a gold star for his patience. He sat back and let the coaches’ game plan try to pan out. Then when it fell apart, he stepped up.
Two Is Better Than Three
With 150 yards from scrimmage and 2 touchdowns in Week 6, Ingram made a statement that he was the Black and Gold’s premier back moving forward. With Kamara seeing more touches as well, it seems as if this two-headed monster will be better than the committee with Peterson would’ve ever been.
The secret was that Peyton allowed these backs to get a rhythm within the offense. By not forcing Peterson out there at odd times, Ingram was able to truly read the defense and start to pick and choose his moments. Moving forward look for Ingram and Kamara to only improve as they have been entrusted and given an opportunity to find their own rhythm.
The Saints now look to win their 4th game in a row, but it won’t come easy. They travel to Lambeau Field to face an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. ESPN’s Mike Triplett reported this that this game is more than just a game for Ingram.
Ingram played the Packers in the first game of his career with the Saints in 2011. He was given the ball with no time left at the 1-yard line where he was stopped short and the Saints would lose 42-34.
Today he explains how that is part of his story. He followed with, “It didn’t turn out the way that I wanted it to, but it’s something that I’ll always look back on, especially going back to Lambeau. I want to redeem myself.” Look for Ingram to find his rhythm again and have a big “redemption day” against the 24th ranked rushing defense in the League.