The New Orleans Saints defeated defeated their rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, in an absolute thrashing that resulted in a 24-9 score. Quarterback Taysom Hill got the start over Jameis Winston and did not disappoint. Additionally, the defense was incredible and seems to have finally turned a corner.
Here are our biggest takeaways from the game:
We were all wrong about Taysom Hill
Wow. What a healthy dose of crow I am having to eat this week. I had just finished up a piece on why Winston should start over Hill and how it wasn’t a competition. Then, head coach Sean Payton goes out and makes Hill the starter and proceeds to call a brilliant performance.
Taysom was electric on Sunday afternoon and proved he can be an effective starting quarterback. He made great throws all afternoon. Perhaps his best of the day was to Emmanuel Sanders for a 57 yard touchdown that was unfortunately called back. There’s an element to the game that the Saints have been lacking for years, but with Hill it’s back.
One of Hill’s strong suits is his ability to convert on third-down and short situations. While he wasn’t put into many of those situations, he still managed to come up big in the end. His two rushing touchdowns are evidence of such.
He has another prime matchup against the Denver Broncos this weekend and should continue to excel. We can still debate whether Jameis or Taysom is a better fit for the offense, but there is no doubt that Taysom is both an effective quarterback and a unifying one.
The Saints defense has found its groove
Fortunately for fans, the New Orleans defense has vastly improved from the pitiful showing that we got in the first few games of the season. The narrative heading into this game was that Matt Ryan was going to throw all over the Saints secondary, especially considering Marshon Lattimore’s absence. Instead New Orleans piled on 8 sacks, 3 interceptions, and prevented Ryan from throwing a single touchdown.
C.J. Gardner Johnson once again proved he is one of the best playmakers on the team by bringing the gravy, Demario Davis turned Atlanta’s offense into mashed potatoes, and Cam Jordan feasted on Ryan like it was Thanksgiving dinner. This defense has found its groove just in time for a massive playoff push that should have the Saints in contention for the number one seed in the NFC.
The Saints enter Week 12 ranked 4th in the NFL in total defense (302.2 ypg), 8th in scoring defense (22.2 ppg), 12th in total offense (373.6 ypg) and 6th in scoring offense (29.5 ppg).— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) November 23, 2020
Overall, they rank in the top 10 in 24 of the league's 36 major statistical rankings.
The defense should only improve from here as the return of Lattimore should make a significant impact. Additionally, newcomer Kwon Alexander has been a catalyst for making big plays happen as his speed and prowess for making big-time tackles has been impressive. Look for this defense to continue carrying the team.
Sean Payton is an absolute troll/genius
This week has seen us talk about Payton’s bagel, his cream cheese, and his propensity to prove to the NFL and all of the “experts” that he is the genius, not them. Just when we all thought (ok, maybe only some of us) that Winston would clearly get the start, he opted for Hill instead. Many thought it was a crazy move, some believed it to be arrogant, or simply to prove he could beat the lowly Falcons anyway he pleased.
Instead, Payton showcased Hill’s ability as a quarterback and showed everyone why Hill got paid in the offseason. Taysom may not be the next Steve Young as Payton proclaimed, but he is more than capable of leading this team to victory in Drew Brees’s absence. Whether or not he is the quarterback of the future is still up in the air. We need a much larger sample size to determine that. But Payton probably doesn’t.
What are your biggest takeaways? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. And as always you can follow me on Twitter at @KadeKistner.