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Defense Dominates in Taysom Hill’s Debut, Saints Beat Falcons 24-9

Consecutive wins: seven! Matt Ryan sacks: eight! Happy Sunday y’all!

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints (8-2) sent the NFL world into a frenzy when they announced that Taysom Hill, not Jameis Winston was going to start on Sunday with Drew Brees sidelined for a few weeks with injuries to his ribs and lung . The move was unusual for several reasons, not the least being that Winston threw for over 5,000 yards last season, while Hill has thrown a grand total of 18 passes in his NFL career. Undeterred, Sean Payton stuck to his gun, as the Saints faced their bitter rivals Atlanta Falcons (3-7) in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, trying to extend their winning streak to seven games.

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Here is how the game unfolded:

FIRST HALF

The Falcons started with the ball, and on the second play of the game, Matt Ryan would hit a 45-yard bomb to Calvin Ridley to the Saints’ 30-yard line. On third down in the red zone, C.J. Gardner-Johnson would breakup a pass intended for Hayden Hurst in the end zone, forcing the Falcons into a short field goal.

NO: 0 - ATL: 3

Following the kickoff, Taysom Hill took the field for the first time as the Saints starter in a regular season game. Facing a third-and-one, the Saints would try to pass and fail to convert, going three-and-out. On Atlanta’s next possession, the Saints would force the Falcons into a three-and-out as well, with Cameron Jordan recording the first sack of the game for New Orleans on third down.

On their ensuing possession, the Saints would get into Falcons territory on two runs plays by Alvin Kamara and Deonte Harris. After a pass interference penalty on cornerback Darqueze Dennard, Hill would find Adam Trautman for q 19-yard pass into the Falcons red zone. The saints would eventually stall an settle for a 22-yard field goal by Wil Lutz.

NO: 3 - ATL: 3

The Falcons would get into Saints’ territory using the running game with Todd Gurley II. A holding penalty on safety Malcolm Jenkins would extend the Falcons drive but eh Falcons would eventually stall and attempt a 51-yard field goal which Younghoe Koo converted.

NO: 3 - ATL: 6

On the first play of the Saints’ ensuing drive, Taysom Hill would find Michael Thomas for 22 yards, the biggest pass play for Hill to this point of the game.

After a Michael Thomas’ wide open drop, the Saints would stall and attempt a 53-yard field goal, which Wil Lutz missed, hitting the left post. The miss was Lutz’s second of the season.

The Falcons would take over at their own 43 yard line, but a sack of Matt Ryan by Trey Hendrickson would force the Falcons to punt. This was New Orleans’ third sack on the game, only in the second quarter. The Saints would go nowhere, punting the ball after yet another three-and-out. The Falcons would take the ball and convert their first third down of the game to Russell Gage, and get into Saints territory using the former LSU wide receiver. The Falcons once again would stall, and Younghoe Koo would make a 52-yard field goal

NO: 3 - ATL: 9

On the first play of the Saints’ next drive, Hill would find Emmanuel Sanders for a bomb 45-yard pass to the Falcons’ 13-yard line.

The Saints would get to the Falcons’ three-yard line and on first-and-goal, Alvin Kamara would rush into the end zone for a touchdown.

NO: 10 - ATL: 9

The Falcons would take over at their own 25-yard line with 1:46 left in the half. Two holding penalties on the Saints would push the Falcons into Saints territory. The Saints would eventually sack Matt Ryan for the fourth time of the game. On fourth-and-10, Matt Ryan would launch a pass into the end zone that safety Marcus Williams would intercept and return to New Orleans’ 20-yard line as the half ended.

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SECOND HALF

The Saints would start with the ball, having deferred the coin toss win to the second half. New Orleans would get into Falcons’ territory on two nice pass plays from Hill to Michael Thomas, clearly Hill’s favorite target on the day. Another pass and run by running back Latavius Murray would take the Saints into Atlanta’s red zone and a first-and-goal to go. The Saints would get to the two-yard line and go for it on 4th-and-goal, which Taysom Hill would convert himself, running into the end zone.

NO: 17 - ATL: 9

The Falcons’ first drive of the second half would start with a sack of Matt Ryan by Demario Davis, the drive would end with Matt Ryan getting sacked again, this time by David Onyemata, forcing the Falcons to punt. The sacks were Ryan’s fifth and sixth of the game for New Orleans.

On the first play of the Saints’ nest drive, Taysom Hill would find Emmanuel Sanders for a beautiful 57-yard touchdown which would be unfortunately nullified by a holding penalty on center Erik McCoy. The Saints would overcome the penalty on a beautiful throw from Hill to Michael Thomas, but a sack of Hill by Deion Jones would stall the drive and force a New Orleans punt. The Falcons would go three-and-out yet again, and the Saints would get the ball in good field position and get into Falcons territory as the third quarter ended. Taysom Hill would start the fourth quarter with a run for a first down, and then convert with a touchdown run into the end zone.

NO: 24 - ATL: 9

To that point of the game, the Saints had scored 21 straight points, long scoring runs a recent habit of the team. The Falcons would once again go three-and-out, the drive being punctuated by Cam Jordan’s third sack of the game, the seventh for New Orleans’ defense.

Taking over at their 30-yard line, the Saints would keep the ball on the ground with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray. The Saints would get into Falcons territory and on a long run, Taysom Hill would fumble the ball, also a recent bad habit of the quarterback, giving the Falcons the ball back at their 20-yard line. Atlanta would convert a first down, on the second third down of the drive, New Orleans would sack Matt Ryan for the eighth time of the game. The Falcons would go for it on 4th-and-13 in their own territory and convert on a pass to Julio Jones. Eventually, Janoris Jenkins would intercept Matt Ryan at New Orleans’ 40-yard line, giving the Saints the ball back.

The Saints would turn to the running game with Latavius Murray and Taysom Hill doing the honors. New Orleans would keep the ball down to the two-minute warning. New Orleans would eventually stall, having forced Atlanta to spend all their timeouts, and punting the ball back to the Falcons with 1:09 left in the game and pinning the Falcons deep. Atlanta would go into hurry up mode, but fail to score as Saints win the game 24-9. New Orleans is now 8-2 and alone atop the NFC South and the NFC pending Green Bay’s game this afternoon.

WHO DAT!

Poll

Do you feel better about the Taysom Hill Saints after this 24-9 win over the Falcons?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    YES! with that defense, the team will be fine! And Michael Thomas is alive!
    (241 votes)
  • 31%
    Yes, but he needs to stop fumbling the ball
    (163 votes)
  • 18%
    Cautiously so, it’s just one game.
    (93 votes)
  • 2%
    Nah, he still can’t really throw the ball
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    I feel so much better after ingurgitating seven burgers in a row during the game.
    (4 votes)
512 votes total Vote Now