That win was cathartic. Even still, the final score was not quite indicative of how close this game actually was (or wasn’t).
It was still a roller coast of a game, with plenty of “Ups” and “Downs” along the way, though. Here are a few that stood out:
The New Orleans Saints locked up the division on Thanksgiving. That’s basically unheard of. The win made the Saints NFC South Champs three years in a row for the first time in franchise history. The Saints are now guaranteed at least one home playoff game this year.
After getting embarrassed by the Atlanta Falcons at home just two weeks earlier, it is clear now that it was all in Sean Payton’s master plan to take the loss at home just so they could clinch the division on the Falcons’ home turf.
Up: Taysom Hill
Taysom Hill became the first player in NFL history to block a punt, catch a touchdown pass, and run for a touchdown. At this point, is there anything he can’t do? Without exaggeration, I absolutely believe that if the Saints were thin at defensive end, they could ask Taysom to rush the quarterback...and Taysom would do it, and do it well.
Taysom has played well in every role Sean Payton has asked him to play, and he provides a spark to the team every time he touches the ball.
Oh, and Falcons:
Down: Hands Team
The New Orleans Saints have been absolutely abysmal at recovering onsides kicks.
In what is supposed to be one of the lowest-percentage plays in the entire NFL, the Atlanta Falcons successfully recovered an onside kick three separate times (the first time being called back due to a penalty).
Don’t forget also the Saints gave up an onside kick earlier in the season to the Chicago Bears.
If the Saints want to put teams away, they need to recover the “gimme” onside kicks.
Up: Dat Stiff Arm Doe
The win was great. Clinching the division is better. But let’s be honest: Shy Tuttle’s stiff arm of Matt Ryan after his interception was the moment of the game for the Saints.
Next year - even possibly next week - everyone will forget about the fact that the Saints clinched the division on the Falcons’ home turf. But the .gif of that stiff arm? That will be the gift that keeps on giving. It will be added to the utility belt of the Saints social media team and Saints’ fans everywhere when trolling Falcons’ fans.
Oh, and if you haven’t heard the German broadcast call of the play, you’re welcome: