NEW ORLEANS – Taysom Hill Skeptics can take a seat for a week after what happened on Sunday, as the Saints jumped to 8-2 the year after they took down the Falcons La New Orleans’ defense was superb that day, as Hill leaned on several of his main weapons en route to a strong offensive day in a 24-9 victory
The Saints won the first draw and opted to carry the ball over to the second half, giving the Falcons the ball to start the game Atlanta wasted little time moving the ball across the field, making several passes from Matt Ryan to start the drive A big 46-yard tie-in with Calvin Ridley put the Falcons in business, but the New Orleans defense would tighten , forcing a 28-yard field goal to Younghoe Koo Atlanta scored the first with their 7-game, 65-yard practice that was 3 hours and 39 minutes behind
New Orleans would make three and three starts to start their first drive after a promising start with Taysom Hill completing their first pass attempt against Michael Thomas However, Hill would be sacked for a 9-yard loss on the 3rd and 1 after being unable to find someone open Atlanta wouldn’t be able to do much on their subsequent possession, giving the ball back to New Orleans after their own 3 and takedown On the ride, Cam Jordan picked up his 19th sack in his 19th game against the Falcons
Taysom Hill’s second practice was much better as the Saints’ offense hit 66 yards in 9 games Unfortunately, they would have to settle for a 22-yard basket from Wil Lutz after being unable to get the ball into the end zone from the Falcons 4-yard line A big jet sweep to Deonte Harris really did shake things up, and Hill also had a close connection with Adam Trautman to set them up with their go-to-go situation. A big pass interference call on Darqueze Dennard also extended the ride, as he defended Michael Thomas While the Saints couldn’t do it, Michael Thomas put some NFL history on the record, carrying his 482nd career catch He passed Jarvis Landry for most single-player catches in the first five seasons of his career
Atlanta’s next offensive practice yielded points, adding a 51-yard Koo basket New Orleans was once again able to move the ball across the field, but clinched when it counted More A rare fall on a wide open Michael Thomas was followed by a 3 yard sack on Hill and failed Kamara’s on-screen attempt The end result was a 53-yard missed field goal by Lutz, as Atlanta kept their 6-3 lead with 11:09 left until halftime.
Dennis Allen’s defense would help reclaim the ball, teams trading 3-and-outs Atlanta would add another after New Orleans gave them back their play, totaling 36 yards in 8 games to end in a basket 52-yard Koo to extend his lead to 9-3 at 4:31 of the second quarter The Saints would finally get the game’s first touchdown, as Hill helped steer New Orleans to a 7- and 80-yard game including a 45-yard game against Emmanuel Sanders Kamara would finish the run, scoring on a 3-yard run to put the Saints 10-9 at the 1:46 mark
Atlanta would try to do their own work during the two-minute exercise, but would fail, as Ryan was picked by Marcus Williams It was his 13th career interception, which brought him into the Top 10 of franchise books, being up there with Mike McKenzie and Fred Thomas
At the start of the second half, New Orleans managed to enter the end zone on an impressive 10-game, 80-yard practice that fell 5:49 behind The Saints received big back-to-back plays from Latavius Murray on the ride, while Hill also reunited with Michael Thomas on several occasions It boiled down to a 4th and a goal from the 2-yard line, but Sean Payton rolled with a beefy set for Hill to keep it and start the scoring to extend his lead to 17-9.
The Saints’ defense reportedly shut down the Falcons on their first half-time possession, securing sacks from David Onyemata and Demario Davis It was Ryan’s 6th sack of the day After recovering the ball, it seemed that New Orleans was about to strike again, but a hold call from Erik McCoy wiped out a deep touchdown shot at Emmanuel Sanders Instead, the Saints kicked after stepping back from a Deion Jones sack to return the ball to Atlanta with 3:22 left in the third quarter.
New Orleans would force another 3-and-out in the Falcons’ next practice, and offensively moved the ball well to close the quarter They narrowed him down to a 3rd and 3rd off the Falcons’ 28-yard line to close the third quarter It would pay off, as Hill got his second rushing touchdown of the game from 10 yards, extending the lead of the Saints at 24-9 after the shot from 6 games and 53 yards
Atlanta would be closed again on their next offensive possession, as New Orleans looked to increase their lead The only thing that stopped them was a Taysom Hill fumble after a 20-yard run The Falcons faced a 4th and 13th in their own turf, but kept things alive after Ryan found Julio Jones for a 22-yard pickup The game before that, David Onyemata got the 8th sack in the team game However, the Saints’ defense closed the door again after Janrois Jenkins got an interception with 5:03 left in the game
New Orleans would cut things down to 1:09 on their last offensive possession, and the clock was running out for Atlanta, as the Saints won 24-9. The Saints now go on the road for three straight weeks, because they have an appointment in Denver next Sunday in a kick-off afternoon
John Hendrix is senior editor and reporter for the Saints News Network Saints News Network is the New Orleans Saints team’s channel for Sports Illustrated
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