Alvin Kamara was selected to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl earlier this week. The NFC's starting running back nod went to Friday opponent Dalvin Cook, however. Perhaps, Kamara took that personally.
The Saints star tied an NFL record with six rushing touchdowns in a 52-33 win over the Vikings on Christmas Day.
The historic performance, which helped New Orleans claim its fourth consecutive NFC South title and might decide some fantasy football championships as well, offered several reasons to celebrate.
Kamara's epic rushing output matched Hall of Famer Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals in 1929. He's only the third player to ever tally six TDs from scrimmage (the Browns' Dub Jones did it in 1951) and the fourth to log six in any manner (the Bears' Gale Sayers did it in 1965).
Friday was the first of those games in the Super Bowl era and, incidentally, the only one to not involve the Bears.
"He's the best running back in the league," Saints center Erik McCoy said of Kamara afterward. "There's not much else to say about it."
Derrick Henry merits discussion. But Kamara's Week 16 exploits give him an NFL-best 21 touchdowns on the season. For a moment, it looked like he would fall one short of matching Nevers' longstanding mark.
Kamara became the first player in seven years to score five touchdowns, and the first in 17 years to gain all of them on the ground, when he scampered into the end zone early in the fourth quarter. But with just four minutes remaining and New Orleans at the Vikings' 1, he watched from the sideline as Taysom Hill entered the game and crashed the scoring soirée.
The Saints, who scored on every drive aside from two turnovers and running the clock out to end the game, quickly regained possession and found themselves back inside Minnesota's 5-yard-line following a long pass from Drew Brees to Adam Trautman. Kamara punched it in on the next play for his sixth present of the holiday night.
The game's opening sequence hinted at big things for the all-purpose back, with Kamara picking up 11 yards on his initial carry and then weaving through Minnesota's defense for a 40-yard touchdown. He'd add two more short scores before halftime.
That had him thinking about making history. Kamara later admitted he asked what the all-time record was after hitting pay dirt a third time, only to find out from a coach that he was just halfway there. He wasn't deterred.
"I was like, s---, let's go, maybe I can get it," Kamara said.
The Saints had just one sustained drive in the third quarter, which Kamara capped off with a 6-yard TD. By the end of the evening, he'd also earned a career-high 155 rushing yards on just 22 carries.
His 16 rushing TDs in 2020 set another personal record, and tie him with Cook for the league lead. But in terms of single-game scoring over the last 90 years of the NFL, Kamara now runs alone.