The easy answer is Michael Thomas, but there was another player that came in clutch more than once. If you’re scratching your head, stop it. Latavius Murray, by and large, was the most integral piece of the 2019-2020 Saints’ offense.
The entire season hindered on his success.
When Mark Ingram departed for Baltimore, the Saints didn’t just lose his and Alvin Kamara’s two-man comedy routine. They lost a one-two punch running back attack that is the foundation of Sean Payton’s offense.
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Take, for instance, the 2009 season, when Payton had the bowling ball Pierre Thomas and the freewheeling Reggie Bush at his disposal. Or the 2011 season, when the Saints finished 13-3, with the help of the steamrolling Mark Ingram and the firework Darren Sproles.
Sensing a pattern?
In both of those seasons, the New Orleans Saints finished in the top six in rushing offenses.
Sean Payton’s offense only works if the running game is present and balanced with the passing attack. In 2013, when the Saints went 11-5, they were consistently imbalanced on the offensive side of the ball.
For example, in a Week 9 loss to the Jets (The JETS) the Saints passed 51 times, compared to 13 running plays.
In short, when the running game is rolling, the Saints offense goes from dangerous to nuclear.
The Saints didn’t need Latavius Murray to have a 1,000 yard rushing season, but at 637 yards and five touchdowns, Murray was able to complement Alvin Kamara nicely (and at times looked like the better back).