In­gram-Ka­mara tan­dem blos­soms in Saints’ win

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New Or­leans — Saints run­ning back Mark In­gram wasn’t en­tirely happy with his end zone dance, say­ing it wasn’t quite TV ready.

In­gram was pleased, how­ever, to have scored twice in a 5238 tri­umph over Detroit on Sun­day and see the nor­mally passhappy Saints win a game with more yards on the ground than through the air.

Iron­i­cally, the Saints’ run­heavy tri­umph came on the heels of a de­ci­sion to trade Adrian Peter­son to Arizona af­ter the veteran star run­ning back had ap­peared in only four games. The move al­lowed the Saints to fo­cus more play-call­ing for run­ning backs on In­gram and ver­sa­tile rookie Alvin Ka­mara, whose skills per­haps fit bet­ter in the “West Coast” style of­fense de­signed and called by coach Sean Pay­ton.

“We wanted to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity,” In­gram said. “We wanted to prove that we can carry this team run­ning the ball, re­ceiv­ing the ball and be­ing play­mak­ers for this of­fense.”

The tan­dem com­bined for 237 yards from scrim­mage. In­gram had 114 yards rush­ing on 25 car­ries, and 36 yards re­ceiv­ing on five catches. Ka­mara gained 75 yards on 10 car­ries and caught four passes for 12 yards. The Saints (3-2) had 186 yards pass­ing against Detroit (3-3).

In­gram said he wasn’t sur­prised the run­ning game thrived with fo­cus of the game plan nar­rowed from three run­ning backs to two.

“When you’re in, out, down a se­ries, maybe two se­ries, you just don’t stay warm. You just don’t stay in the flow of a game,” In­gram said. “Any run­ning back in this league will tell you that when they touch the ball, when they carry the ball, they feel well. They feel like they’re get­ting a rhythm and that’s when you have suc­cess.”

By the same to­ken, In­gram was not sur­prised Peter­son rushed for a sea­son-high 134 yards and two TDs on 26 car­ries the same day, rather con­ve­niently help­ing Arizona beat Saints di­vi­sion ri­val Tampa Bay.

“We just had three great run­ning backs in one room and we were try­ing to get every­body into a rhythm,” In­gram said. “I’m glad to hear what Adrian’s do­ing in Arizona. We’ve been telling you all along that he’s still got the juice, so I’m glad he’s out there prov­ing it.”

Here are some key story lines that emerged from the Saints’ wild win over the Lions:

Re­silient Stafford: Lions QB Matthew Stafford, no­tice­ably hob­bled by an in­jured right an­kle, was sacked five times, hit of­ten and had about a dozen passes de­flected. The re­sult was five turnovers on three in­ter­cep­tions and two fum­bles. The Saints de­fense scored on three of the turnovers. Still, Stafford said he “ab­so­lutely” never con­sid­ered leav­ing the game. And the Lions, who were

down five TDs in the third quar­ter, threat­ened to pull off the largest come­back in NFL his­tory. “That is the at­ti­tude that our team has. That is the at­ti­tude that I have,” Stafford said. “No mat­ter how I am feel­ing, I am go­ing to be out there and try­ing to help us win.” Stafford fin­ished with 312 yards pass­ing and three touch­down passes, help­ing Detroit close within one TD with nearly seven min­utes left.

Surg­ing Saints: Look­ing lost af­ter a pair of dou­ble-digit losses to start the sea­son, the Saints have now won three straight by no less than two touch­downs. They are above .500 for the first time since 2013, the last time they made the play­offs. “At 0-2, you have a chance to ei­ther fold up and cry about it or you can come to work and try and turn the ship around,” In­gram said. “We just have a lot of good guys in this locker room.”

Wel­come bye : Stafford made it clear Detroit’s Week 6 bye is com­ing at a good time — not just be­cause of his an­kle. Safety Glover Quin was knocked out of the game with a head in­jury. Left tackle Greg Robin­son left the game with an an­kle in­jury and wore a pro­tec­tive boot. Re­ceiver Golden Tate, who had a 45-yard TD among his seven catches for 96 yards, left the game with a shoul­der in­jury in the sec­ond half. “He was play­ing at a high level today,” Stafford said. “Sorry to see him to go off the field with what­ever he has got, but he is a big part of our of­fense. He is a really tal­ented player. He worked the mid­dle of the field great today and made some big plays.”

Get­ting de­fen­sive: Pay­ton cred­ited the Saints de­fense for bail­ing the team out of “dumb” mis­takes on of­fense and spe­cial teams. The Saints de­fense set a fran­chise record with three scores, none big­ger than end Cam Jor­dan’s late in­ter­cep­tion of a pass he de­fected to him­self for a touch­down. Those scores made the three TDs the Saints de­fense al­lowed a vir­tual wash. “That’s what we’ve been miss­ing as a team,” Jor­dan said. “We’ve al­ways had a po­tent of­fense … and our de­fense is fi­nally play­ing how they should be.”

DER­ICK E. HINGLE/USA TODAY SPORTS

New Or­leans Saints run­ning back Mark In­gram scores one of his two touch­downs on Sun­day against the Detroit Lions. In­gram ran for 114 yards.

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