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Alvin Kamara somehow finds another gear to start Year 2

Sean Payton insisted this offseason that he didn’t want to simply double Alvin Kamara’s workload and overload the New Orleans Saints running back during Mark Ingram’s four-game suspension.

But then two things happened in Sunday’s 48-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints wound up having to play catch-up in a game that turned into a track meet. And, well, Kamara was so dynamic every time he touched the ball that it was impossible not to keep feeding him.

Kamara wound up with eight carries for 29 yards, nine catches for 112 yards, three touchdowns and a two-point conversion while playing a career-high 52 snaps.cheap nfl nike jersey

It’s also worth noting that all four of Kamara’s scores came inside the 10-yard line (a 5-yard run, a 1-yard run, a 7-yard reception and the two-point run). So it’s not as if he was replaced by a “short-yardage” back to ease the pounding.

Let’s be honest. As dazzling as Kamara was during his NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign last season, it seemed as if it would be nearly impossible for him to sustain his production level in Year 2.5

No player in NFL history had ever matched Kamara’s 7.7 yards per offensive touch with at least 200 touches in a season. And now defenses know more about him — and he’ll be even more of a focal point in these first four weeks during Ingram’s suspension.

So what did Kamara do in Sunday’s season opener? He averaged 8.3 yards per offensive touch.

Kamara busted loose for gains of 35, 23 and 18 yards on first-half receptions, showing off his uncanny ability to make defenders miss in the open field.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Last season, Kamara described that ability as going into “Matrix mode.” If possible, he said he can read the field and opposing defenses even better now.

“It’s Year 2, so it’s one of those things where I’m so much smarter than I was last year,” Kamara said. “So it’s a lot of things that I didn’t feel last year as far as coverage or the feel of a play, like the ins and outs of a play that I know now that’s just helping me be that much faster.”