Two things were apparent from the New Orleans Saints' Week 5 win against the Seattle Seahawks: one, Taysom Hill's contract isn't a total waste of money, and two, the Saints can, in fact, run the ball efficiently.
In the thrilling 39-32 victory on Sunday, NOLA found a way to win despite missing key starters like Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas. Seattle put up a good fight with Geno Smith continuing his dominant streak, yet the Saints finally unlocked their offense and kept their foot on the pedal all game long.
Compared to previous games when the Saints usually launched a comeback in the fourth quarter, New Orleans scored in three of four quarters in Week 5 with the help of a very well-paid gadget player: Taysom Hill.
Though Andy Dalton played starting snaps at quarterback, Hill threw a 22-yard touchdown pass and also thrived as a disguised runner out of the backfield. He led the Saints with nine carries for 112 yards and a whopping three touchdowns, one of which was a 60-yard run to the end zone to give NOLA the lead in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Sean Payton reportedly texted Mickey Loomis telling him, "If you’re uncomfortable with that 10 million salary in a year or two let me know and I’ll take it off of your hands," referring to Hill's contract extension.
NOLA Saints pack a powerful offense with Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara
It's unclear how much the Saints will use Hill going forward, especially with Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas potentially returning this week. Still, Hill helped open the floodgates and served as one of the team's most productive and dynamic threats, and his impact in Week 5 won't be forgotten.
Another misused offensive weapon? Alvin Kamara. The star running back featured against the Seahawks after missing the London game and recorded 23 carries for 105 yards, averaging 4.5 yards a carry.
Whereas Hill found more success in the end zone, Kamara at least looked more like his old elite self and managed to do some damage behind an improved Saints offensive line.
The Saints hadn't run the ball effectively up until this point as a motley crew of Mark Ingram, Latavius Murray, and Dwayne Washington struggled to make any headway on the ground.
Seeing Kamara rush with strength and purpose like he did in the Seahawks game should uplift Saints fans and provide a clearer blueprint for how the Saints can maximize efficiency in their rushing attack.
The Saints' offense still has plenty of room for improvement, but with Alvin Kamara spearheading the run game and with Taysom Hill carving out a larger role for himself, NOLA may get their 2022 season back on track.
Up next, a top-10 Bengals defense should put NOLA's sparkling offensive firepower to the test.