Alvin Kamara suffers a concussion on the first drive of Thursday's game

Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones (45) hits New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) on Thursday night. (AP)

Fans might not have even settled onto their couch for “Thursday Night Football” before one of the night’s biggest draws was knocked out of the game.

New Orleans Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara, one of the league’s most exciting players this season and a clear favorite to win offensive rookie of the year, was hit hard in the head on the Saints’ first drive by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones. He was evaluated and ruled out of the game with a concussion. If you heard screams on Thursday night, it was the anguish of a million fantasy football owners at once.

Kamara was off to a good start. He had two catches for 29 yards on New Orleans’ first drive. Then on a catch behind the line of scrimmage, Kamara was hit in the head by Falcons linebacker Deion Jones. He got up and wobbled to the sideline where the doctors met him and took him to the bench. He was looked at in the medical tent and then brought back to the locker room.

During the broadcast, NBC’s Heather Cox said the independent neuro-trauma consultant at the game on the sideline looked a replay of the hit three times, and then watched the replay of Kamara coming off the field. There have been instances of the NFL’s concussion protocol getting side-stepped, but that wasn’t going to be the case with Kamara.

Kamara’s importance to the Saints’ offense can’t be overstated. He has been dynamic, averaging 7 yards per carry coming into Thursday’s game and he also had 60 catches for 614 yards. He had 1,220 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns.

Kamara has been a great story for the NFL this season, a dynamic player who burst onto the scene for one of the NFC’s best teams. People who tuned in to watch him on Thursday night — especially those who were in the first week of their fantasy football playoffs hoping for another big night from Kamara — got to see him for about four-and-a-half minutes before he was done.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!