Not one single eye should have batted when Trevor Siemian stepped into the New Orleans Saints' huddle on Sunday, in the second quarter of a game the Saints were leading 7-6 and facing second-and-9 with starting quarterback Taysom Hill sidelined by a foot injury, and proceeded to throw a pass on the next three plays.
That closely resembled the plan Saints Coach Sean Payton enacted when Siemian entered another game under similar circumstances – in the second quarter against Tampa Bay on Oct. 31, with the score tied at 7-7 and starting quarterback Jameis Winston having been helped off the field after tearing his ACL.
Three straight pass attempts didn't produce a desired result against the Buccaneers – New Orleans punted after gaining five yards on one completion – but showed the aggressiveness with which the Saints were prepared to play. And the same thing happened against Atlanta, from that perspective, with an additional bonus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Siemian's first pass attempt, on second-and-9 from the Falcons' 24-yard line, was incomplete in the end zone for receiver Ty Montgomery. The second throw also was incomplete, but an 11-yard pass interference penalty on Atlanta cornerback Fabian Moreau gave the Saints a first down at the 13.
And on the next play – Siemian's third pass, though only his second official pass attempt – he lofted a perfect pass over the top of a defender to receiver Tre'Quan Smith, who leapt high and snagged the pass with both hands before crashing to the turf in the end zone.
The score gave New Orleans a 14-6 lead en route to a 30-20, season-ending victory. But, again, it showed that the Saints wouldn't be reluctant to attack even after a quarterback change during a drive.