Sean Payton praises Taysom Hill in QB’s first start as Saints down Falcons

The New Orleans Saints took down their divisional rival, the Atlanta Falcons, by a final score of 24-9 in 30-year-old quarterback Taysom Hill’s first start.

It was rough to start for the Saints. New Orleans really couldn’t get much going offensively throughout the first half. In the game’s first 25 minutes, the Saints scored just a mere three points.

Now, due to a late second-quarter touchdown from Alvin Kamara, they did enter halftime with a slim 10-9 lead.

They didn’t look back in the second half as a pair of Taysom Hill scorers put the game out of reach. Hill had a two-yard run and a ten-yard run to cap off a couple of solid drives that gave New Orleans’ faithful a new spirit regarding their Swiss Army knife starting quarterback.

We knew before the game what the biggest takeaway would be — the performance of Taysom Hill. Hill wasn’t awful, and while the cause for concern is still there given their inability to move the ball at times, the Saints did make light work of the Falcons.

Here are Payton’s thoughts on Hill’s performance against the Dirty Birds.

“I thought that he played well. He had the one turnover late in the game in the four minute. We had a big touchdown pass called back. It’s a good team win. I thought that we were fantastic defensively. I don’t know what our rushing numbers were (on rush defense), but I think that it’s a really good run defense. We managed to take advantage of enough opportunities to win that game,” Payton said following the game.

Hill ended the game with 23 pass attempts, more than he had in his career coming into the outing. He completed 18 of those, also more than he had to his name. He went for 223 yards, almost half of which went to the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year Michael Thomas.

The strength of Hill’s game is his rushing. He’s had more rushing yards in each of his three seasons with the Saints than passing. That was obvious on Sunday as he rushed in two touchdowns and totaled 51 yards on ten carries.

The team won, and Hill played well.

But, the Falcons aren’t necessarily the cream of the crop. They have a three-game road streak that starts with the Broncos. The Saints will have the Broncos then the Falcons at the very least before Drew Brees comes back.

For now, Hill is a suitable substitute. While many are still going to say it was a mistake to not play Jameis Winston, head coach Sean Payton did what was best for the franchise in his mind, and the team continued their winning streak.

He played “well.” It wasn’t fantastic, but it was a solid performance from Hill. Expect a similar style of playcalling (36 run plays) as they head to Denver next week.