"I sucked," Ingram said -- a total of 18 times, if you include the word "sucky." He also mixed in "I was terrible" and "I was whack" a handful of times as he faced the fire after New Orleans escaped with a 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears.
"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," said Ingram, who had never before lost two fumbles in a game in his seven-year career and now has a career-high three lost fumbles this season.
"I sucked. I sucked. That's the bottom line: I sucked. Two possessions we're about to ice the game, and I sucked," Ingram said. "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 whack, I sucked, and I'll be better."
Ingram was on his way to becoming the MVP of New Orleans' win on Sunday before his first fumble came with 7:32 remaining and the Saints leading 17-6. Until that point, he had 15 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown, plus six catches for 24 yards in a game in which New Orleans' plan was to keep the ball away from Chicago's opportunistic defense.
Ingram's next fumble came on the next possession after Chicago closed within 17-12 (on his second carry of the drive). He didn't touch the ball again on New Orleans' final possession.
It will be interesting to see if this affects Ingram's role going forward, considering the Saints have another talented running back in rookie Alvin Kamara, who has been serving as a "1-B" to Ingram's "1-A."
Kamara finished Sunday's game with eight carries for 28 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 48 yards.
Saints coach Sean Payton wouldn't reveal what his message to Ingram was during a brief sideline exchange.
"The message to Mark will be between me and Mark," said Payton, who earlier commented that, "You turn the ball over like we did, and you don't deserve to win games like that. You can't do it."
Last year, Payton benched Ingram for nearly a full game after he lost a fumble in the fourth quarter of a loss at Kansas City, then followed with a first-quarter fumble at home against Seattle. It took a few weeks before Ingram resumed his No. 1 job full time. But he wound up with the first 1,000-yard rushing season of his career.
Ingram insisted a couple times Sunday that, "I'm gonna bounce back. I'm a fighter."
He credited his teammates for the way they responded to his mistakes to still seal the victory.
"It's kind of been the story of our year," Ingram said. "No matter what has been going on, nobody's been panicking."