Mark Ingram was blunt when assessing his play Sunday: "I sucked."
The New Orleans Saints running back used a variation of "sucked" 18 times to describe his performance in the 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears, per beat reporters. The running back also threw in the adjectives "terrible" and "wack" for good measure.
Ingram starred for the first 52 minutes of the game, gashing the Bears on the ground and in the passing game. The hard-running tailback shouldered the load, powering the Saints offense to a double-digit lead.
Then disaster struck.
Fumbles happen. The Bears defense made a good play to punch the ball loose.
If only that were the only blip for Ingram. Four plays after the Bears TD, Ingram was again stripped, leading to a turnover.
"I let my teammates down. I put us in a bad position. The game was only close because I sucked. That's the bottom line," Ingram said, via ESPN's Mike Triplett.
"I sucked. I sucked. That's the bottom line: I sucked. Two possessions we're about to ice the game, and I sucked," Ingram added. "Let the ball go, hurt my team, hurt my coaches. That's the thing about a family, that's the thing about a team: They lift you up, they had my back, and we were able to get the W. But I was wack, I sucked, and I'll be better."
The fumbles were bad -- the second nearly inexcusable -- but Ingram hardly "sucked." The running back blasted for 75 yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown, and added 24 receiving yards on six receptions. Without Ingram, there would have been no double-digit lead to almost fumble away.
The question is whether Sean Payton will be comfortable handing the ball to his best running back with the game on the line down the road. The Saints' coach benched Ingram for nearly a full game last year after fumbling issues.
"The message to Mark will be between me and Mark," Payton said after Sunday's win.
The coach previously commented: "You turn the ball over like we did, and you don't deserve to win games like that. You can't do it."
Luckily for the Saints, who are on a five-game winning streak, Ingram did plenty prior to fumbling to help earn the victory.