In the week leading up to the Panthers game, the Saints found out that Alvin Kamara tested positive for COVID.
Further contact tracing showed the entire running back room was in close contact with Kamara, so they needed to isolate also. So the Saints were going into the last game of the season with zero running backs from their active roster.
No problem. Sean Payton is a genius coach. Take Ty Montgomery, a former RB who is now mostly a “joker” back/slot receiver (and has been on and off the game-day roster a lot this season as well as being injured), and insert him into the game as your RB.
We’ll bring up a practice squad back as our backup. What happens? Montgomery rushes for 105 yards; no sweat.
How these things happen proves once again not only how good and deep the Saints are compared to other teams, but also how strong a coach Sean Payton really is. And it’s a travesty we aren’t hearing his name more in the coach of the year discussion.
The Saints didn’t miss a beat. Brees looked to be rounding into form. He didn’t throw for big yards – didn’t need to – but did get three TD passes.
The offensive line was as good as they’ve been all season – particularly Terron Armstead who is proving why he’s one of the top three left tackles in the game. Great balance between the run and the pass kept Carolina from doing much damage on defense.
Defensively the Saints were without Kwon Alexander who tore his Achilles on Christmas, as well as several safeties. And yet, the defense amassed five interceptions on the day and held Carolina to one late first-quarter TD. It was a very solid showing at the right time.