The New Orleans Saints have been here before with running back Mark Ingram II.
Most recently, last year, when Ingram had consecutive games with lost fumbles against Kansas City and Seattle and was benched for the remainder of the Seattle game, in which he gained five yards on three carries.
So while two fourth-quarter fumbles, both recovered by Chicago, in the Saints' 20-12 victory over the Bears last Sunday obviously were damaging, the Saints also understand that Ingram has bounce-back ability. After his Seattle performance last season, he rebounded with a 15-carry, 158-yard day against San Francisco that included a career-long, 75-yard touchdown run, and a touchdown reception. He didn't fumble in his final 116 carries of 2016.
"I'm sure he'll respond," Coach Sean Paytonsaid Wednesday morning during his teleconference with local media. "Every once in a while something like this happens. The second time it happened in the game, in the four-minute (offense), I know he was disappointed, upset. I was upset.
"Situationally, you're carrying the ball and you're carrying everyone's hopes and dreams, not just your own. He'll work to fix that, and I'm sure he will."
LINE DANCE:The Saints continually have had to shift offensive linemen this season due to injury, the latest adjustment being Senio Kelemetestarting at right guard in place of Larry Warford. Kelemete also has played right tackle and left guard this season. Payton lauded the versatility of the linemen.
"Senio has played a few spots," he said. "You've seen (first-round pick) Ryan Ramczyk play both sides of the ball (at left tackle and right tackle), you've seen Andrus (Peat) play inside at left guard, play outside (at left tackle) and I think that experience will be important.
"The rosters and the way they're made up in our league sometimes can be challenging as you're trying to put together your gameday actives and deal with injuries. I've said this before: I think there's a handful of things that have gone right in that regard. The selection of Ramczyk was significant because of the flexibility it gave us at tackle; we've had (left tackle) Terron (Armstead) down, we've had (right tackle) Zach (Strief) down. Fortunately, we've been able to move some guys around and been able to still play winning football."
THE BUC REPORT:Sunday's opponent in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Tampa Bay, will give the Saints their second NFC South Division game this season. They won 34-14 at Carolina and expect a tough game against the Buccaneers. "They are division opponents so the teams know each other a little better," Payton said. "This season, seems like we're getting into our division games later than before.
"They've added some pieces to what they do, they're moving the ball very well. They're (fourth) in the league in offense (at 376.6 yards per game), near the top of the league in passing offense (second at 295.4), and I think they're explosive that way. Defensively, they played, I thought, a real good game last week against Carolina when you watch the film. They did a good job of kind of containing that offense. It'll be a challenge, like it always is, when you play someone like this in your division."