Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
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METAIRIE, La. ― Praise for Saints’ fifth-year player Pierre Thomas continued to roll in Sunday, hours after he put together one of the more remarkable postseason games for a New Orleans running back.
His twists and turns and jukes and power rushes, for once, were hailed by a defensive player.
“Oh man. Jesus,” Saints linebacker responded when asked if Thomas was one of the hardest guys to bring down on first contact.
“I mean, we’re on the sidelines watching it and we started calling how many tackles he was going to break before he touched the ball,” Vilma went on. “I’ll tell you what – he was wired for that situation. He did a great job. He’s had a great year. It’s really refreshing to see him play his best ball at the end of the year.”
Of the Saints running backs during the regular season, Thomas finished with the second-most carries at 110.
But rookie Mark Ingram led the team with 122 before missing the final four games with injury and Chris Ivory had 79 in his six games after returning from the physically unable to perform list.
Saints coach Sean Payton promises Thomas wasn’t limited during the season with eyes on the playoffs, though.
“I think it’s a by-product of a rotation,” Payton said. “I don’t think there was a specific pitch count. When you separate Darren (Sproles) and his role, and then you look at Pierre (Thomas) and Mark (Ingram) and Chris (Ivory), I think it’s kind of handled itself.”