NEW ORLEANS — The Saints defense rose to the occasion when Drew Brees was injured last season and they’ve done so again dominating the Falcons and keeping the game close until Taysom Hill became more comfortable running the offense in a 24-9 win over Atlanta Sunday.
It was the Saints seventh straight win.
'I thought he played well," said head coach Sean Payton of Hill. "He had the one turnover late in the game... It was a good team. We were fantastic defensively."
The defense had eight sacks of Matt Ryan and held the vaunted Falcon receivers in check for most of the day, slowing an offense that had been potent in recent weeks. Payton was impressed.
"I just finished telling them, that's a really good offense we were seeing... that was impressive."
Hill started a bit slow in the first half but started heating up, especially finding Michael Thomas, who seems to make everybody who starts for the Saints the past two years feel more comfortable.
The Saints offense sputtered for most of the first half with dropped passes and a missed field goal slowing the scoring before the Saints put together an 80-yard scoring drive that included a 45-yard underthrown completion to Emmanuel Sanders and finished with an Alvin Kamara scoring run to take a 10-9 lead into the half.
In the second half, it was all Saints. The offense moved well enough and the defense just smothered Ryan and any chance the Falcons had.
Cam Jordan had 3 sacks while Trey Hendrickson and David Onyemata each added 2. Janoris Jenkins and Marcus Williams both had interceptions.
Taysom Hill ran for two scores in the second half and had another big run marred by a fumble.
He hit on 18-of-23 passes for 223 yards with nine of those going to Thomas for 104 yards. He ran 10 times for 51 more.
"I could see the look in his eyes," said Thomas of Taysom Hill. "He was ready for the moment. Every day he found a way to win the day. I'm very proud of him. I'm at a loss for words."
Hill said he realized fairly early in the week that he would likely be the starter and he said that Brees was at his side helping him through the week.
"Drew was with me every step of the way this week, asking me what I needed and how he could be helpful. He was so critical. He was such a comfort for me to have around. I look up to him so much… He’s awesome."
The Saints moved to 8-2 on the season with a three-game road swing starting next weekend in Denver.