Taysom Hill scores two TDs, Saints defense forces three turnovers in 26-18 win over Falcons

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Taysom Hill scored two touchdowns and deflected an Atlanta punt, and the New Orleans Saints defense forced three Matt Ryan turnovers in avenging one of their two losses this season with a 26-18 victory over the Falcons on Thursday night.

After losing to the Falcons at home just three weeks ago by a 26-9 margin, the Saints flipped the script in Atlanta. Will Lutz converted four field goals from 22, 47, 42 and 45 yards to complement Hill’s two scores as New Orleans improved to 10-2 and clinched the NFC South title with the win.

Russell Gage scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ryan with 3:26 to go with a failed two-point conversion try trimming the advantage to 26-15. The Falcons would recover the ensuing onside kick (twice) to chip into the lead once again. Younghoe Koo converted a 43-yard field goal at the two-minute warning to make it a one score game, 26-18, and the Falcons recovered yet another onside kick to give them a chance to tie.

Instead, the Saints pass rush took over as Ryan was sacked three times on their final possession and had a fourth sack negated by a defensive penalty to close out the win for New Orleans. Ryan was sacked nine times with Cameron Jordan responsible for four of the sacks.

Hill deflected a punt on the opening possession of the game that set up the Saints with a short field opportunity for their first drive. Hill would score a 3-yard touchdown on a toss pass from Drew Brees to give the Saints an early 7-0 lead. Hill would then spring free for a 30-yard touchdown run on a quarterback run as the Saints built a 17-9 lead at halftime.

With the Saints holding a 7-0 lead, the Falcons pushed down to the New Orleans 2-yard line at the end of the first quarter before electing to go for it on a fourth-and-1 instead of kicking a 20-yard field goal. Ryan threw incomplete to Christian Blake as Atlanta came up empty on their first red zone possession of the game.

However, the Saints couldn’t move the ball out of danger backed up against their own goal line and went three-and-out to give the ball back to the Falcons on a short field. Atlanta finally got on the board as a 35-yard pass interference call against Eli Apple preceded an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jaeden Graham. However, a missed extra point wide left from Koo preserved a 7-6 Saints lead for the time being.

Ryan completed 35 of 50 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was intercepted twice by C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Shy Tuttle and lost a fumble forced by Marcus Davenport. Julio Jones and Austin Hooper were both inactive for the Falcons due to injuries.

New Orleans would immediately answer on their next possession. Jared Cook broke free for a catch-and-run up the sidelines for 40 yards down to the Falcons’ 10-yard line. The drive would stall and the Saints settled for a 22-yard field goal from Will Lutz to extend the lead to 10-6.

An 11-play, 50-yard drive from the Falcons would result in no points as Koo pulled a 42-yard field goal try wide left as well. New Orleans would quickly take advantage with Hill’s second touchdown of the night pushing the lead to 11 with two minutes left in the half.

Atlanta converted a fourth down and gave Koo one last chance before the half and he responded with a 45-yard conversion to close the gap to 17-9.

Drew Brees completed 18 of 30 passes for just 184 yards with a touchdown and Alvin Kamara was limited to just 61 yards on 11 carries, but Hill and the Saints defense carried the night as the Saints are division champs again.

20 responses to “Taysom Hill scores two TDs, Saints defense forces three turnovers in 26-18 win over Falcons

  1. The Saints are not looking as dominate right now. Allowing two onside kicks to the Falcons looks bad. Beating the 49ers will be the difference maker between either securing the first round bye or end up playing the 49ers, Seahawks, Packers, or Vikings in the wild card round.

  2. Ugh what a shambles, OL has been a disgrace basically Ryan’s whole career, but at least they tried to draft some guys this year.

    Has the current OC not seen the super bowl film? Where aside from Kyle Shanahan doing the worst job of playcalling with the lead ever, Tevin Coleman got injured, Freeman had to come in and the next play Donta Hightower blitzed, ran right through Freeman for the strip sack and changed the game. Stop putting him out there in pass pro he can’t do it.

    If Falcons fans live vicariously through their team like loser patriot fans, games must make them feel like crap, the same way patriots fans tell themselves if the patriots win, it means they’re not losers.

  3. Wasn’t really a fair game bcuz Falcons didn’t have their best weapon on the field which is Julio. It would be a different game with him. Saints didn’t look very good either and will be one and done in the playoffs.

  4. The Saints looked terrible. If Atlanta had Jones and hooper this could have easily gone the falcons’ way.

    Right now the saints have a stationary QB throwing to one Receiver who can catch. I can’t see them doing well in the playoffs.,if they can’t beat San Fran.

  5. Matt Ryan did a lot more in that game than any quarterback should have to, let alone one who’s hurt and is 34 years old. Brees, on the other hand, had the luxury of only having to throw for 184 yards and save himself for tougher games. I understand that Atlanta has injuries and that Quinn is not an offensive coach like Payton (and to be fair, no one is an offensive coach like Sean Payton), but that’s where coaching comes in. Keeping in a back to help when your line is struggling is good, but that back has to be able to block. Freeman demonstrated that he cannot do that. Even though they were down (and again, Hooper and Jones being out is hard, but all of those linemen were starters), they should have run the ball more just because Ryan was hurt. I know it makes it more difficult to win, but you have to manage your players here, especially because Atlanta is not in a position to rebuild due to their contracts. They have to try and win with their vets-and Matt Ryan’s long term health is the biggest single component of that.

    Younghoe Koo was awful with scoring plays, but my God were those amazing onside kicks. He might be most valuable kicker in the league after that game, even if he can’t hit a field goal.

  6. Hill is unreal.

    His nickname should be slash. as in qb/rb/wr/st..there isn’t a lot he cant to .. wish him well, seems like a nice guy

  7. For those of you saying saints dnt look dominant, um its a division rival. San fran struggled with the cards and seattle barely beat the browns bengals bucs and falcons. No game is given. Heck the pats won against the cowgirls but only cuz cowgirls beat themselves

  8. If this wasnt the Saints we’d be getting applauded for winning in different ways. But NO. Lol

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