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Saints Forecast: Taysom Hill and Sean Payton shut up the doubters

Four Taysom touchdowns and Sean Payton would have opened his post-game press conference lighting a cigarette and uncorking a bottle of wine.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — The entire football world doubted Sean Payton’s decision to start Taysom Hill at quarterback. Lots of media openly mocked Payton, but it turns out all the football analytic nerds and experts were wrong, and the guy who has been orchestrating a top 10 offense since 2006 was right.

Did you enjoy the Saints winning 24-9 and Taysom Hill looking like a possible future starting quarterback as much as I did? The haters, experts, and football nerds were wrong and Sean Payton once again being smarter than all of them was DELICIOUS.

Non-New Orleans Saints NFL fans, most football journalists, and a huge swath of social media hate Sean Payton because he’s seemingly arrogant, petty, smart, and seems to enjoy sticking it to anyone that doubts him. 

He’s really the perfect coach for New Orleans, as we are petty people, who record all slights, doubts, and insults to be cataloged to throw back in our enemies' faces when the time arrives. Whether that time is a week or a decade away, we never forget any mockery.

If you didn’t spend 2 hours after the game on Twitter devouring every football analytic nerds tweets telling everyone “Actually Taysom was awful and Saints won because of defense” -- you didn't enjoy this Saints' win properly.

The nerds were half right, the Saints' defense was spectacular, and Cam Jordan just sacked Matt Ryan again while you are reading this column, but Taysom was pretty damn good except for a fumble and should have been interception throw.

Full disclosure: I thought it’d be Jameis Winston starting. Frankly, I just didn’t believe Payton when he said the last three years he believed in Taysom. 

Sean says lots of things but signing Winston and then playing him against San Francisco seemed to confirm my belief that if it ever came time to play Taysom Hill at quarterback Sean would turn elsewhere. Payton played Teddy Bridgewater and then Winston instead of Hill, so his gushing praise of Taysom felt like nonsense he fed the media. 

Until it wasn’t. 

In a twist I didn’t see coming, Payton was being 100% honest with us about Taysom the entire time. I guess the Saints really did give Hill $21 million to be a quarterback.

Was Hill perfect? Not by a mile, but if he’s going to be even close to 18 for 23 passing every week AND rush for 51 yards, the Saints have their post Drew Brees quarterback. Can he keep this up or get better? We are about to find out, because unless Hill goes backward and becomes a turnover machine, he’s the Saints quarterback for the next 3 weeks.

Hill knew Sunday was a make-or-break moment in his journey to be an NFL quarterback.

 "Man, I spent a lot of time reflecting this week. My wife and I had so many conversations about where we've been, the process of getting here. And if I'm being honest, it was an emotional week,” he said.

It's pretty darn cool, the guy on the Saints practice squad was able to parlay a chance to cover kickoffs late in 2017 to starting at quarterback three years later. That's a movie of the week type fairy tale stuff.

If Taysom had flopped, Sean Payton would have gotten raked over the coals, and honestly, I'm not sure how strong the commitment was to Taysom. Would he have been given the chance to redeem himself if he had been awful in his starting debut? That's one question I bet Sean Payton and Hill are glad to not have to address.

Taysom was a Michael Thomas drop and Eric McCoy holding penalty from having a monster Sunday. 

Four Taysom touchdowns and Sean Payton would have opened his post-game press conference lighting a cigarette and uncorking a bottle of wine. It would have sent all the haters to their fainting couches and safe spaces. There’s always next week. 

Also, Sean, don't be retweeting Roddy White Falcon trash talk about Taysom Hill and then during the postgame demand reporters stop asking about Taysom! We wanted to bask in the Taysom Hill good times. Sean was correct though, Taysom wasn’t the only fun thing the Saints delivered Sunday, as the defense delivered their third consecutive dominant performance.

I don’t know what’s more hysterical to me; Cam Jordan getting a Matt Ryan sack hat trick and solidifying himself as the greatest Falcons killer of all time or the fact Trey Hendrickson leads the NFL in sacks with 9.5. Both make me cackle with delight. 

The Saints' defense is officially a terror and there isn't offense they'll face the next 3 weeks that should scare us.

The Saints are currently the top seed in the NFC and have won 45 games the last 3.5 years. The Saints as a franchise between 1967-1977 won 44 games TOTAL. As Thanksgiving approaches in this most horrible pandemic filled year, the Saints have thankfully delivered exactly what we hoped for, even if the details aren’t quite what we expected.

Ralph Malbrough is a contributing writer and Saints fan living in Houston. Email him at saintshappyhour@gmail.com, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter at @SaintsForecast or download the Saints Happy Hour Podcast.

(Warning: The Saints Happy Hour Podcast may contain language that is not suitable for all audiences) 

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