NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -
Taysom Hill's doing a lot of things we've never seen before from anyone in black and gold, let alone a backup quarterback. But now, a first even for him.
He couldn't have picked a better time or game to block his first punt. Halfway through the third quarter, with the Saints still struggling to do anything offensively, Hill's heroics changed the game.
"It's a significant play," says head coach Sean Payton. "It's like a turnover. Fortunately, we were able to capitalize and score and then kind of build off that momentum."
Like most great special teams blocks, this one comes down to what the Saints saw on film and terrific execution.
"When you get to rush next to Alex Okafor, it makes your job very easy," says Hill. "There were a few looks that we saw during the week, and we were able to run a little game. Coach (Mike) Westhoff gives us the freedom to do various things like that. AO (Alex Okafor) and I saw it, and we went for it."
What Hill's referring to is Okafor drawing the attention of two players, leaving Hill and his speed free to go after the punt.
“Both the tackle and the wing sat on Alex,” says Hill. “My whole thing was, ‘Don’t miss the ball.’”
It's a moment that sums up Hill's ability and attitude as a player who rarely sees a challenge that he can't handle.
"He wants to play hard because he loves the game, and you feel that," says Payton. "He's willing to do anything but do it well. He's a very important part of our team."
"This is the type of game where we, as a special teams unit, need to make a big play to change the momentum here," says Hill. "That was the mindset as a special teams unit, and that's what we were hoping for."