NEW ORLEANS — Alvin Kamara gave us a Christmas to remember with 6 touchdowns against the Vikings, but he also did something else – put a bow on the best season by a running back in Saints history. Kamara having the best season by a running back in Saints history is no small thing as the Saints have some INCREDIBLE seasons by running backs in their history. Don't believe me? Let's argue about who had the greatest season as a running back in Saints history to wrap up 2020 in style!
#5 1981 George Rogers
Rogers was the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft and delivered 1674 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns. In the 1980's kids, teams fed good running backs the ball until their bodies gave out. Rogers had 378 carries in 1981.To put that in context, Alvin Kamara has 358 carries THE LAST 2 SEASONS COMBINED.
Rogers ran for all those yards for a team that won 4 games and played 3 different quarterbacks. 1981 George Rogers was an absolute monster. Don't believe me? Watch the highlights
#4 1986 Rueben Mayes
Mayes in 1986 had 1353 yards and 8 touchdowns. That season include a 203 yard rushing performance against the Miami Dolphins. Mayes averaged 4.7 yards a carry in 1986 for a team that was was 23rd in passing yards. Teams knew the Saints were going to run Mayes all day and he still got his yards.
#3 2003 Deuce McAllister
As we get to the top 3 places on this list, the seasons get RIDICULOUS. In 2003 Deuce had 2157 total yards from scrimmage, including 1641 rushing and 516 receiving. At one point in 2003 Deuce ran for 100 yards in 9 straight games. Deuce was amazing, enjoy these highlights of him running over, around through guys.
#2 1989 Dalton Hilliard
Hilliard had 1776 yards from scrimmage, including 1262 yards rushing, and lead the NFL with 18 touchdowns. He carried the ball a whopping 344 times as the Saints passing game completely fell apart as Bobby Hebert was eventually benched. No matter, Dalton was such a force in 1989 he even threw for a touchdown.
#1 2020 Alvin Kamara
Kamara still has a game to go in 2020 but he already has 1688 total yards from scrimmage and is 68 yards short of 1000 rushing yards. He's also already shattered the Saints single-season touchdown record with 21 and has set a career high with 83 receptions.
Kamara has proven to be a bargain for what the Saints paid him and for the first time in 3 seasons could be healthy for the playoffs.
Is this ranking based on recency bias and his 6 touchdown game on Christmas? Maybe a little but the 2020 Saints only got 40 catches and no touchdowns from Michael Thomas, Drew Brees missed a month and Alvin Kamara still delivered the best season of his career. That equals #1 in my rankings.
Saints Fan Mood and Meditation Music:
So What'Cha Want – Beastie Boys
The Saints head into Week 17 with lots of playoff possibilities. What we want is the Packers to lose and the Seahawks to win, so a Saints victory delivers the #1 seed and a bye for the NFC Playoffs.
We also want the Saints to beat Carolina and be as healthy as possible for the playoffs. We are asking a lot I know but I just wanted an excuse to use the Beastie Boys here because this some bangs.
So whatca whatca whatca want? Mitchell Trubisky to have game of his life against the Packers
New Orleans (-6.5) at Carolina:
The Panthers won't roll over and play dead like they did last year in Week 17, so the Saints will have to come to play if they want to get to 12-4 and a better playoff position.
The Panthers are 18th in points allowed on defense (24.6) and I really hope they decide to play zone defense again so Drew Brees can burn their secondary to the ground like he did in the first meeting.
My sense of this game is Saints will win but it will be annoyingly difficult and we won't be able to focus on other games because the Saints will be in a fight until the end.
Chicago (+4.5) vs Green Bay:
I don't know the details, I just know the Bears will be winning this game for 59 minutes and 45 seconds before Aaron Rogers breaks our hearts.
Seattle (-4.5) at San Francisco:
The 49ers wrecked Arizona's playoff chances and they could easily throw a monkey wrench into our Saints get home field dreams. Russell Wilson will escape...barely.
Arizona (-2) vs Los Angeles Rams:
The Rams are in serious danger of missing the playoffs again. Jared Goff might try to play through a potential broken thumb to save their season. It'd be great if the Rams lost, missed the playoffs 2 straight seasons, and then did something dumb like fire their coach.
Dallas (-2.5) at New York Giants:
The Cowboys are back from the dead and are going to go 7-9 and win the NFC East and host a playoff game. 2021 is going to start off as weird as 2020 ended.
Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.