New Orleans Saints veteran running back Mark Ingram is back after serving a season-opening four-game suspension for using PEDs, officially rejoining the team at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
He’s healthy, hungry and I suspect humbled after spending the month of September estranged from the organization that took him with the 28th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
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Above all, Ingram can help the NFC South-leading Black and Gold (3-1) get to where they want to go, both in a leading and supporting role.
No, Ingram is not Alvin Kamara, the phenomenal second-year running back who leads the NFL in total yards with 627 through the first quarter of the season. But Ingram is a very good player in his own right, coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and trying to improve his marketability in the last year of a four-year, $16 million contract.
Kamara has carried the running back load in Ingram’s absence, playing in 82 percent of the Saints’ offensive snaps against Tampa Bay (51 of 64), Cleveland (51 of 66), Atlanta (67 of 79) and the New York Giants (59 of 70). Additionally, AK41 has played six snaps on special teams, producing 16 punt return yards against the Falcons.
He was a one-man gang in Sunday’s 33-18 road win against the Giants, accounting for 181 yards from scrimmage on 24 touches and three rushing touchdowns.
He provided the exclamation point, motoring 49 yards for a touchdown with 2:06 remaining to cap the Saints best month of September since 2013 when they went 4-0 en route to an 11-5 mark, a wildcard berth and a trip to the divisional round.
Television cameras captured Saints coach Sean Payton high-stepping joyously down the Saints sideline delivering an undercut punch in the air and shouting “Boom!”
Boom was elsewhere, fulfilling his league-mandated penance.
But Zoom was in full splendor at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
And now “Boom & Zoom’‘ are back together after a month-long separation. They will resume sharing snaps Monday night against the Washington Redskins at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (7:15 p.m., ESPN). Arguably, they have become the most formidable running back tandem currently playing in the NFL.
It should be a special night, what with Saints quarterback Drew Brees in hot pursuit of legendary quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, who rank one-two in NFL all-time passing yardage.
Brees (71,740) needs a scant 201 yards to eclipse Manning (71,940) and just 99 to surpass Favre (71,838).
It could happen by halftime.
Who Dat Nation won’t have to wait that long to see Boom & Zoom.