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Left tackle Terron Armstead lays down dominant performance, looks to build off it as New Orleans Saints gear up for playoffs

'That's something that I always try to bring - try to bring that energy, that excitement, having fun out there'

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Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings matchup on Christmas Day in Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season.

From an outside perspective, it was a performance of epic proportion, one to be mentally encased and admired for years.

The fury that New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead unleashed upon Minnesota in a 52-33 victory on Christmas Day has assumed a mythical status, almost alongside the NFL record-tying, six-rushing touchdown performance by running back Alvin Kamara. The Saints (11-4), the NFC South Division champions, will conclude their regular season Sunday against Carolina at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

There are ample highlights to affirm Kamara's place in history, of course, as he danced and powered and juked his way into the record books wearing green and red cleats that rightfully earned their own category.

But Armstead wasn't just an usher or bouncer last Friday as the Saints ran for a season-high 264 yards and a franchise-record seven touchdowns on 45 carries. He was a destructive force whose performance created its own buzz.

"When you look at the tape last week, it's as good as he's played in the running game in as long as I can remember," Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "I mean, he finished some plays where guys were in the end zone or 10 yards downfield. It was outstanding."

One defender, Armstead pushed out of bounds, eight to 10 yards on the Saints' sideline. Another defender – as Kamara was scoring on a short run – Armstead drove into the end zone turf like a piling, establishing the foundation for the kind of physicality he was prepared to dispense.

"Yeah, I saw a couple of his blocks," right tackle Ryan Ramczyk said, smiling. "I saw a couple of them in the game after I watched the big screen and watched the replay. It's pretty awesome to see stuff like that.

"And he got after a couple guys and just ran him into the concession stand."

For his part, Armstead, who earned his third Pro Bowl invitation, said there still were holes in the showing.

"I think I did some things well, had some impact blocks," he said. "But still some areas of improvement, for sure, things I want to clean up and get better at. And that's the goal going into this week and into the playoffs.

"I think everybody has got to be fully committed, our mind-set's got to be focusing on dominating and taking over the game. That's what we're looking to do on a weekly basis. Myself, I've got a ton of things to improve on and get better at, and I'm going to do everything I can to do that."

The eight-year veteran said that the real-time adrenaline rush that accompanied his performance was fuel for the entire offensive line.

"It's great. It's great," he said. "That energy. We feed off that energy so however we can create that and keep that going, and momentum, that's huge for us. That's something that I always try to bring – try to bring that energy, that excitement, having fun out there, really. It's a game, so we're out there trying to have the most fun and it's always fun when you're winning."

Part of winning, though, is friendly competition among linemates.

"It's just always a great feeling when your running back comes off your block – I'm not going to sugarcoat that at all," Armstead said. "Being the one that, the running back hits right where you just displaced a guy, that's a great feeling for sure.

"And you see somebody like A.K. take it 60 (yards) at any moment, so you want to be that guy that creates that lane. All five of us, or six when we're in 'Jumbo,' all six of us are trying to be that one to create that lane. That excitement, having fun and that will to win has been big for us. We have to maybe even turn it up some more these last several weeks."

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