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Beignets and Café au Lait: How you like me now?

Taysom Hill shows he is more than a special teams personal protector in first NFL start

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Hi Y’all!

As always, for our novice readers or non-New Orleanians, welcome!

Let’s start with some definitions:

Beignets (English: /bɛnˈjeɪ/; French: [bɛɲɛ], ben-YAY literally bump) are distinctly New Orleans, a delicacy intimately connected to the city’s rich French heritage. Best enjoyed heavily powdered with sugar.

Café au lait (/ˌkæfeɪ oʊ ˈleɪ, kæˌfeɪ, kə-/; French: [kafe olɛ]; French for “coffee with milk”) is a delicious New Orleans way to start your day.

This is your “After-Saints-Game” brunch, where we talk about the state of the Black and Gold, we debate the goings-on with the team and talk about what’s next at this point of the season. So, sit back, take a bite and a sip while your brain slowly wakes up, and let’s catch up on some football.

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What Just Happened?

Everybody and their grandma thought Taysom Hill would fall flat on his face. That includes scores of Saints fans. After all, Jameis Winston threw for over 5,000 yards last year, right? Meanwhile Hill had completed all of 18 passes entering Sunday afternoon’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Because life is irony’s greatest fan, Hill proceeded to complete exactly 18 passes against the Atlanta Falcons, going 18-for-23 for 233 yards and two rushing touchdowns. After falling behind 9-3 in the second quarter, Hill would lead the Saints to a 21-0 run against Atlanta and a decisive 24-9 victory over the Saints’ biggest rivals.

It was not a work of art: for the nearly two entire quarters, the Saints had a grand total of three points. Hill, obviously needs time to mature into a good NFL quarterback, having taken absolutely no starter reps since he has been in the league. What was striking is all the Monday-Morning quarterbacking that went on when Sean Payton, a Super Bowl-winning head coach of a 7-2 team at the time, made the decision to start Hill in place of the injured Drew Brees instead of Winston.

It is only one game, and the book on Taysom Hill the starting quarterback is far from being written. But what Hill showed once again on Sunday is that one doesn’t need to be a top-flight passer in today’s NFL to be a successful starter: just ask the Baltimore Ravens. No, Hill is not Lamar Jackson, but his skillset is diverse enough that he can keep defenses on their heels throughout any game because with practice, he can learn to use his arm as well as he is using his legs. And if he does, then watch out.

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Beignets and Café au Lait Awards

Fresh Beignets with Hot Coffee: The Saints’ Defense

This is quickly becoming a broken record with me, but the Saints’ defense is good...damn good! In their last three games (at Tampa Bay, vs. San Francisco, vs. Atlanta) the Saints have given up 8.33 points-per-game. New Orleans has also recorded 13 sacks and six interceptions in that span. All three opponents had a total net yardage output under 300, with the Bucs totaling only 194 net offensive yards in what was a 38-3 blowout. In other words, the Saints’ defense is stingy even against garbage yards. Here is more cause for celebration: this outstanding play is a sign that Dennis Allen has been able to make the necessary adjustments that his defense needed after it started the year giving up at least 23 points in every game, including 34 and 37 points allowed in back-to-back performance against the Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers in weeks two and three. Now, especially with a new quarterback under center, the Saints can afford to be patient on offense, run the ball, punt when they don’t want to take unnecessary chances, because they know that their defense can win the game on its own. Quite a fun time to be a Saints’ fan.

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More Fresh Beignets with Red Hot Coffee: Sean Payton

This will not be another pro-Taysom Hill rant, more of a kudos to Sean Payton. It is easy to go with the mob, follow the trend, try to fit in and blend in. Payton had a vision for Taysom Hill when he inserted him in the Saints’ lineup two seasons ago as a Swiss army knife quarterback, an atypical player who could do a little bit of everything. Since then, the NFL, the ultimate copycat league has seen players like Jalen Hurts or Tommy Stevens get a chance, because head coaches are hoping that they can become the next Taysom Hill. Now, with Brees injured and Jameis Winston on the Saints’ roster, Payton decided to go with the unproven, atypical player instead of the prototypical quarterback. At the news, the entire NFL world either questioned or outright ridiculed the decision. After one game, it’s Sean Payton who is laughing, while the NFL world savors its crow, likely hoping to see Hill fail and get a hindsight is 20/20 chance to say “I told you so.” I for one, am laughing with Payton.

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What’s Next?

Next Sunday, the Saints play the Denver Broncos in the Mile-High City at 3:05 CT. Denver (4-6) is mediocre team that is 2-3 on the road and 2-3 at home. The Broncos have lost to nearly every good team they have played (Titans, Steelers, Bucs, Chiefs, Raiders), while their wins have come against the likes of the Jets, Patriots and Chargers. The exception in the win column coming this past Sunday, when Denver defeated a good Miami Dolphins team 20-13 at home, snapping the Dolphins’ five-game winning streak. Quarterback Drew Lock was solid, if unspectacular, completing 18-of-30 pass attempts, for 270 yards, no touchdown and an interception. Lock relied on his defense, ala Taysom Hill to win the game. New Orleans travels to Denver protecting and looking to extend a seven-game winning streak and will have to take the Broncos seriously as any road-NFL game is a challenge. But on paper, the Saints are the favorites and if they keep playing defense the way they have the past three weeks, it could be a long afternoon for Lock and the Broncos’ offense.

Poll

With Hill at QB, what will the Saints’ record be in the next two games? (at Broncos, at Falcons)

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    2-0 baby! Bring on the Taysomania!
    (238 votes)
  • 8%
    1-1: Win in Denver, loss in Atlanta. Saints always split with the Failclowns
    (26 votes)
  • 4%
    1-1: Losing to the Broncos would be such a Saints way to snap their 7-game winning streak
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    0-2, the earth is flat and Big Foot was last seen in Bogalusa
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    My record is two burgers a minute. What was the question?
    (9 votes)
290 votes total Vote Now