As good as your Christmas may have been, Alvin Kamara probably had a better one. The Saints running back had a record-tying 6 rushing touchdowns against the Vikings en route to a 52-33 win. He matched a record that had been held since 1927 by Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals. Not only did Kamara have 6 touchdowns and 172 total yards, but he did it in week 16, AKA the fantasy football championship week. It may be tough to realize how historic the Alvin Kamara record was, but let’s break it down.
Nevers vs. Kamara
Kamara’s first touchdown came early in the first quarter on a forty-yard run. That was by far his most explosive play of the day, as the rest of his scores were less than seven yards. This is similar to Nevers’ career, as according to Football Reference he only had 3 touchdowns longer than 4 yards. It’s easy to assume that most of the old running back’s touchdowns were short punch-ins. Although yard totals were not tracked in the 1920s, touchdowns were. Ernie Nevers is probably more of a power back, while Kamara uses his finesse and agility to his advantage.
The Alvin Kamara record came in a game where the 4x Pro Bowler was slightly more limited than normal. The Saints only included the running back on 60 percent of snaps, which is down from his 66% average. When fully healthy, he even plays closer to 70 percent. However, on Christmas, the Saints even took him out during a red zone situation. Instead of feeding the hot hand, Sean Payton turned to Taysom Hill to score on a QB power. So, in a game where Alvin Kamara tied a 91-year-old record, he could have and should have beaten it instead. In fact, that record may have been even more historical than you think.
It is kind of hard to process just how long ago 1929 was when the record was set. Just two years earlier, Babe Ruth was in the middle of a record-breaking season in New York. He was completely changing the game of baseball. In May, Babe Ruth took a St. Louis Browns pitcher deep. His name? Ernie Nevers. Nevers was not super talented on the diamond, but his stats were at least respectable. However, his time on the gridiron was special. The running back was a five-time all-pro and is in the Hall of Fame. His six-touchdown game is one of the greatest in NFL history in more than one way.
The Chicago Cardinals’ running back was also their kicker. On four of Nevers’ touchdowns, he also kicked the extra points. The running back’s diversity is what pushed him on top of the all-time single-game points record. (40) Kamara’s lack of kicking ability is what cost him the first spot on the list. (Even though I think Alvin Kamara could probably knock down the kicks as well) The record for single-game points is the longest pro football record that has ever been held. For how remarkable the Alvin Kamara record was, it was still under-celebrated. Back in Nevers’ day, quarterbacks threw the ball at a very minimal amount. On Christmas, Drew Brees attempted 26 passes. I believe that Kamara may have had even more success if he ran the ball every play. Kamara almost beat the 91-year-old record in the modern era, which is remarkable and unheard of.
Alvin Kamara fantasy owners are truly reaping the benefits of his fantastic Christmas, as are the Saints. If the 2017 Offensive ROTY can keep up his running and receiving success, then we may see New Orleans make a run all the way to the Super Bowl.