Alvin Kamara joins exclusive 600-600 club

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Saints running back Mark Ingram was looking for words to describe Alvin Kamara, and came up with “monster,” “savage,” and “cold-blooded.”

He could have also added “historic.”

The rookie running back continued his startling work yesterday in beating the Panthers, and has reached a level few have.

With 126 yards from scrimmage yesterday, Kamara now has 606 rushing yards and 616 receiving yards for the season. He’s just the third rookie running back to top 600 yards in each category in league history, joining Washington’s Charley Taylor in 1964 and Detroit’s Billy Sims in 1980. And he has four games left.

“We can prepare for whatever we want, but he’s got some elite ability,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said, via Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Considering the way he dismantled the Panthers second-ranked defense, awe is the appropriate response. But even his teammates are amazed at some of the moves he makes.

“Aw, man, that dude is slippery,” center Max Unger said. “It’s cool to see young runners like that. It’s amazing, really. He’s a talented guy and you just have to get him free, have him break a couple of tackles. He does some impressive stuff.”

The Saints have long been willing to adapt their offense to a back who can catch, but Kamara isn’t merely a scatback. With a 20-yard touchdown run through the middle of the Panthers defense, he showed he can slither inside as well.

“From the very beginning, there was something unique about him and his ability to absorb the offense, which can be very complex and be a lot especially for the running back position,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “You kind of wondered what positions you’d be able to put him in. Gradually, that playbook has completely expanded to really any situation where we’d feel comfortable with him in a game.”

They clearly do at this point, and Kamara is showing at an early stage that he was a steal in the third round.