Tim Hightower is all substance and rarely flashy. But for a Saints offense that already features plenty of big play ballers, Hightower’s workman mentality is exactly what they need for balance.
“I think I definitely thrive on these kind of situations,” says the running back in his second season with the Saints. “I try to pride myself on being a physical runner.”
Being physical against one of the most physical teams in the league isn’t an easy task, either. Ask Mark Ingram. He was sent to the bench after losing his second fumble in as many games. Enter Hightower, who executed the Saints’ patient game plan to perfection with 102 yards on 26 carries.
“When things didn’t go well early, we stuck to it,” says Hightower. “They gave us some tough looks running the football, but we stuck to it.”
“These runs in the first quarter that go for one or two yards and you mark as a bad run pay a lot of dividends at the end of a game when you get to the 70th or 75th play when you’ve got a defense that’s been dealing with the run the whole game,” says right tackle Zach Strief. “We had two big runs in the fourth quarter there.”
Those Hightower runs that Strief refers to of 28 yards and 10 yards in the final quarter led to a touchdown and field goal, respectively. Those are points the Saints had to have against a scrappy, rallying Seattle Seahawks.
“I think this was one that coming into it, you knew it was going to be a physical game,” says Hightower. “And I think for me, I just prepared my mind and knew that this is the kind of game I’m built for.”
Before you pile on Ingram for a couple of bad possessions, know that Sean Payton insists that Ingram will bounce back, and that he knows how competitive his first-string running back is. But in the same breath, he says ball carrying and the importance of possession will be emphasized going forward.
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