2. Mark Ingram / Chris Ivory tandem
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Mark Ingram appeared to be heading down the lonely road of being thought of as a bust through the first seven games. Chris Ivory was inexplicably inactive or not on the field in that same time.
Nov. 5, however, produced the first game when this young tandem played together and suddenly the run game took off. Nearly 78 percent of Ingram’s team-leading 602 yards came after Ivory’s return. Ivory himself added 217 yards in the six games he played in.
Having Ivory healthy spurred something inside of Ingram and, when Payton gets back, there’s a good chance he’ll see in film of the season that the two played off each other well.
The Saints certainly didn’t have a run game the league should have been envious of. That said, if they can get back to where they were in the latter half of the season – rushing for at least 119 yards in all but one of the final seven games – 2013 could be a lot more successful.
And it starts with these two players.