It wasn't as simple as, "Here it is, stop it if you can," for the New Orleans Saints' run game Sunday against Seattle.
Obviously, there was an element of subterfuge, in order to keep the Seahawks defense guessing a bit in New Orleans' 39-32 victory in the Caesars Superdome.
But there might not have been a whole lot of it.
When the Saints referred to it as a "bat" game, the reference was to the level of physicality that would be required and maintained. And in rushing for 235 yards and three touchdowns on a whopping 48 carries, the physicality and punishment unquestionably was administered.
A definitive byproduct: The Saints posted a commanding advantage in time of possession, 37:35 to 22:25.
"I thought a huge factor in the game was time of possession," Coach Dennis Allen said. "So, how do you maintain time of possession? You're effective and efficient on first and second down, getting yourself into third and manageable situations.
"The run game is a huge part of that. And then defensively, being able to get off the field on third down (Seattle was 1 of 9 on third down). I thought the time of possession was huge in the game, and our ability to run the ball was a big part of that."
The Saints had two 100-yard rushers in the game: Taysom Hill ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns – including the game-winning score on a 60-yard run in the fourth quarter – on nine carries, and Alvin Kamara totaled 103 yards on 23 carries.
Hill, particularly, was a sledgehammer. He'd run 12 times for 116 yards and a touchdown in three previous games before nearly doubling his attempts and yards against Seattle. He also completed his lone pass attempt for a 22-yard touchdown.
"We had a plan to utilize Taysom in the run game and utilize him from the quarterback position, and I think the fact that we were effective being able to do that allowed us to stick with it a little bit more and do it a little bit more," Allen said. "I think that's a combination of how effective it was, and I think there was a plan going in to be able to do that."
INJURY UPDATES: Allen said receiver Chris Olave (concussion) and cornerback Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) both will continue to be evaluated this week after being injured during the game.
"He's in the concussion protocol right now," Allen said of Olave, who caught four passes for 54 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown. "Saw him today, he felt pretty good this morning. We'll follow all those steps in terms of protocol and we won't put him back out there until he's cleared to go by the doctors."
As for Lattimore, Allen said, "He had some testing last night, some more testing today. He's going to be OK, we'll just have to see how he responds this week in terms of what his availability is going to be."
TIP OF THE VISOR: Allen gave the Superdome crowd an assist for Sunday's win.
"I want to start off by just saying how much I think the crowd affected the game," he said. "I thought the crowd was outstanding in the game, caused a couple of false-start penalties on their part. I thought that was a huge part in the game. You could really tell the difference – that last three-and-out the defense got, I thought the crowd was a big factor in that. We're going to need that again this week."
THIS WEEK: When he referenced "this week," he meant the Cincinnati Bengals, who will enter the Superdome with a couple of fan favorites in former LSU star quarterback Joe Burrow and receiver Ja'Marr Chase. The duo helped lead LSU to the national championship in 2019; Chase is a New Orleans native.
"I think both of them are exceptional players. I think both of them are outstanding players. Hopefully our crowd will be a little bit more behind the Saints team and not the local favorites. We've got a couple of local favorites on our side, too," Allen said, smiling, referring to former LSU stars Tyrann Mathieu (a New Orleans native) and Jarvis Landry (from nearby Lutcher High) on the roster.