Give Saints quarterback Taysom Hill a ton of credit in his first NFL start.
Hill completed 18 of 23 passes, with at least two drops. After the first quarter and a half, he settled in and played quite well. Sean Payton, second guessed for giving the starting job to Hill instead of Jameis Winston, looked smart.
Hill ran the football effectively, but only 4 of his 10 runs came in the first three quarters. In many respects Hill was a conventional quarterback, throwing the football from the pocket and handing the ball to running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, who were both working behind a sledgehammer offensive line.
The Saints just lined up and took it to the Falcons, rushing for 168 yards on 36 carries. The Saints also rang up eight quarterback sacks. The Atlanta offensive line, especially their tackles were completely overmatched by Cam Jordan and Trey Hendrickson.
Both of David Onyemata’s sacks were when he reached the feet of the quarterback. He got both of them because of tremendous effort.
Going into Sunday’s game, Ryan had been sacked 18 times all season.
Running back Latavius Murray was terrific. He’s the perfect compliment to Alvin Kamara. Murray is a tough one cut back, who hands out punishment to tacklers.
The Saints seem to challenge every throw in the secondary. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Janoris Jenkins both had big games. To think the Saints held Atlanta without a touchdown, while playing without cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who was inactive was impressive.
Linebacker Demario Davis is all world. He can cover, blitz, and stuff the run.
The Saints have invested so much draft treasure in their lines. That is a big reason New Orleans is on a seven game win streak, and has won 45 of its last 58 regular season games.