The New Orleans Saints earned their fourth consecutive NFC South title thanks to a career performance by Alvin Kamara against the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Kamara scored a career-best six rushing touchdowns while tallying 155 yards on 22 carries en route to a 52-33 victory over Minnesota. Kamara's six rushing touchdowns are tied for the most all-time in one game (Ernie Nevers, Cardinals vs. Bears, Nov. 28, 1929).
"It just feels good to have one of those days just for the team, just for the offense's morale," Kamara said in his postgame press conference. "I always say this, I'm not focused on personal goals, and yards, and stuff like that. As long as the team has success then personal success will come."
The Saints scored on the opening possession when Kamara broke loose for a 40-yard dash to paydirt, his longest run of the game. Kamara's second score came on a one-yard run with 5:10 remaining in the first quarter. His third score was a powerful 5-yard run with 38 seconds left in the first half. Kamara scored from six yards out with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter and notched his fifth rushing touchdown from seven yards out with 3:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.
With 1:55 to go in the contest and the Saints knocking on the door of the endzone with a 45-33 lead, Saints coach Sean Payton called 41's number one more time. Kamara delivered a bruising three-yard score for his record-tying sixth rushing touchdown in the game. He celebrated with a snow angel in the endzone.
Latavius Murray contributed 68 yards on 11 carries against his former team.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees became the first player in NFL history to pass for over 80,000 yards in a career. Brees completed 19-of-26 for 311 yards. Brees connected with wideout Emmanuel Sanders four times for 83 yards and tight end Jared Cook three times for 82 yards.
New Orleans accounted for 583 yards of total offense, including 264 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The Saints were 5-for-9 on third-down conversions.
Defensively, the Saints were able to keep Vikings' star tailback, Dalvin Cook, in check. Cook carried 15 times for 73 yards and one score. New Orleans notched two sacks without defensive end Trey Hendrickson, the Saints sack leader, who missed Friday's contest due to injury.
Since the 2002 NFL divisional realignment, only three franchises in the NFC have won division championships in four consecutive seasons, New Orleans (2017-20), Green Bay (2011-14) and Seattle (2004-07).
"We've got a good core group of players," Saints coach Sean Payton said in his postgame press conference. "I thought with the injuries today, a number of guys stepped up. Obviously, the first goal is to win your division, and then get your seeding as best you can for the postseason. So, I was proud of how they played. We played hard."
The Saints (11-4) close out the regular season Sunday, Jan. 3 against the Carolina Panthers at 3:25 p.m. on Fox. The Vikings (6-9) take on the Detroit Lions at noon next Sunday at Ford Field.
For complete Saints-Vikings stats click here.