On a day where turkey, rolls, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pies were enjoyed in mass quantities across the country, the New Orleans Saints served up a huge portion of something different for Thanksgiving.
The former BYU star quarterback, who’s gained acclaim for his versatility in the NFL, played a unique, historic and major role in the Saints’ nationally televised 26-18 victory on Thursday night. Hill scored two touchdowns, blocked a punt and hauled in another pass for good measure.
"I don't know if there is anyone that enjoys playing football more than (Taysom Hill),"— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 29, 2019
- Sean Payton pic.twitter.com/f7kqK7zlhs
“He’s just a football player. He’s neat to coach,” Saints coach Sean Payton said in his postgame press conference. “He can play a number of different positions. There aren’t many guys like him, the first one I’ve ever coached like him.”
Not surprisingly, Hill credited teammates and his coach for putting him in a position to succeed.
“It was one of those weeks I was excited about,” Hill said in his postgame press conference. “I think when you have guys like (receivers) Mike Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook and the list goes on, it creates opportunities for little ol’ me because there’s so much attention that’s put on those guys.
“Coach is one of the best at being creative and putting guys in positions to be successful. I got lucky because I was that guy tonight.”
Hill did most of his damage in the pivotal first half.
The third-string quarterback began the game — which helped the Saints clinch the NFC South title — by blocking a punt on special teams. He took advantage of a one-on-one situation, rushed in, reached back and smacked the ball as it left the punter’s foot to give New Orleans great field position.
Hill then scored his two touchdowns.
The first TD came on a 3-yard pitch play on the Saints’ ensuing possession.
If Taysom is hungry, YOU FEED HIM pic.twitter.com/N3zsS57JZm— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 29, 2019
The other scoring play came on a QB draw late in the first half. Hill called his own number, burst through a huge hole in the middle of the offensive line and sprinted untouched to the end zone.
Taysom Hill comes back for seconds!— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2019
A 30-yard run for another touchdown! #Saints @T_Hill4
: #NOvsATL on NBC
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Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/iIfZOz55HO pic.twitter.com/E0JW5JArJz
“While he’s developing as a quarterback there’s lot of places he’s playing. We probably need to keep getting him the ball even more,” Payton said. “I’m proud of how he played. He’s a real good practice player and that, coupled with his athleticism and his love for the game — I don’t know if there’s anyone that enjoys playing football more than him — and that kind of rubs off and is contagious on his teammates.
“So when guys like him make play, you see the bench get excited and that quality that a player has that endears himself to other teammates is very strong and important, and he’s one of those players.”
Former Saints running back star Reggie Bush was one of the many who took to social media to chat about Hill’s performance.
Taysom Hill is a beast!— Reggie Bush (@ReggieBush) November 29, 2019
Hill deservedly was one of the Saints players selected to eat the traditional turkey leg after a historic game. His 3-yard TD catch was his fourth of the season, which is the most for a quarterback in NFL history, according to Football-Reference.com.
That was Taysom Hill’s 4th receiving TD this season, the most by a QB in a season in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/eZYlLqajCw— Jeff Asher (@Crimealytics) November 29, 2019
Hill also became only the second NFL QB ever to score a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game. The first, coincidentally, was fellow BYU alumnus Jim McMahon, who accomplished that feat against the Rams in 1983.