The NFL made a schedule change this year to place a single game on Christmas Day with the New Orleans Saints against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Saints were looking for a way to come back from losing two games in a row and falling from the top playoff seed in the NFC while the Vikings were simply trying to hang onto a thread of hope for a shot at the playoffs.
Alvin Kamara Put the Saints on His Back
During the game, Saints Running Back Alvin Kamara was the star of the show. Kamara put the team on his back, with the help of the offensive line, and found his way to the end zone six times. This performance tied an NFL record that has stood since 1929 and gave the Saints the victory with a score of 52-33.
This Christmas Day Performance Was Just What the Saints Needed
Recently, the New Orleans Saints have had a hard time. The suffered back to back losses coming into the holiday game. After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles which was followed by a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Saints needed a big performance. Couple this with the troubles they have had at the quarterback position, and this win was the gift that was exactly what this team needed to get back on track.
QB Woes for the Saints
Last year, Saints QB Drew Brees missed five games with a broken thumb. During that time, backup Teddy Bridgewater was able to handle the duties going 5-0 while Brees recovered. This year, while Brees was hurt with eleven broken ribs and a punctured lung, the Saints turned to Taysom Hill, which is not your typical quarterback. Even so, Hill did a good job, only losing one game out of three, which was the contest with the Eagles.
Brees is Making Progress
The loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was much closer than some might have thought and Drew Brees played fairly well. On Christmas Day, the 19/26 and 311 yards for Brees was only overshadowed by the fact that Kamara ran for a career-high155 yards and had six rushing touchdowns. It seems the Saints are getting healthy at just the right time.
The Record Tied
The record-tying performance of Alvin Kamara matched Hall of Fam fullback Ernie Nevers in 1929 for the Chicago Cardinals. This performance was a total of six rushing touchdowns for one player. Gayle Sayers also had six touchdowns in one game during his career, but it was a performance with four rushing, one receiving, and one as a punt return for a touchdown which is a bit different.
The Saints Never Punted on Christmas Day
During the game against the Vikings, the Saints never punted. They scored on eight of their possessions with the six rushing touchdowns of Kamara, one for Taysom Hill, and a single field goal. The Saints were more than capable of marching up and down the field with several receivers coming away with strong performances to balance the rushing attach of Kamara who was the star of the show.
On the Other Side
If Alvin Kamara was like Santa Claus for the Saints on Christmas Day, he was more like the Grinch for the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defense couldn’t do anything to stop the rush or cause any disruption to the passing game. The defensive performance was so bad that the head coach of the Vikings, Mike Zimmer, stated this defense is the worst he’s ever had during the time he’s been a coach.
The Division is Clinched
While it seemed almost certain, it became a reality during this game. The New Orleans Saints went into theChristmas Day game needing only a win to clinch the NFC South Division. They were able to secure this victory and come away with the first part of their title run goals. With this win in the books and Drew Brees back, it looks like there isn’t much thatcan stop or slows the Saints.
Look for More Gifts in the Playoffs
Alvin Kamara and the Saints certainly hope this isn’t the last great performance for the running back or this team for the year. With one more regular-season game to go, the Saintsare positioned to make a deep playoff run with a hall of fame quarterback, an amazing running back, excellent receivers, and the top defense in the league. Other teams will need to bring their best against the New Orleans Saints during the postseason.