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Taysom Hill leads offense, defense builds formidable wall in New Orleans Saints victory over Falcons

Hill ran for two touchdowns, defense totaled eight sacks

The New Orleans Saints are going to like a lot of what they see from the 24-9 beating they administered to Atlanta on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the seventh straight victory for the division-leading Saints (8-2).

There were enough notable performances, supplied by enough players, that it's difficult to narrow down individuals for having "the" best game in a particular unit. In one case, it's pretty much futile to even try.

OFFENSE: Quarterback Taysom Hill, and there isn't a debate on this one. He'd never started at the position in the NFL – the last time he started at quarterback was 2016, his senior season at BYU. But Hill was a whole lot of what we envisioned he'd be, based on the way the Saints had utilized him in a cameo role offensively. He completed 18 of 23 passes for 233 yards and no interceptions, and ran 10 times for a game-high 51 yards and two touchdowns. He did lose a fumble for the second straight week, so he absolutely has to clean up his ball security. But it was fun watching the gameplan for him unfold, and it'll be even more intriguing as New Orleans opens up the playbook even more as defenses attempt to adjust to Hill's strengths. Michael Thomas (nine catches for 104 yards) had his best game of the season, and Latavius Murray (85 yards from scrimmage on 14 touches) was a big-time influencer. But Hill really shined.

DEFENSE: This is where it'd be futile to try to find one guy. Defensive end Cam Jordan had three sacks, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and four tackles. Defensive end Trey Hendrickson had two sacks, raising his season total to an NFL-leading 9.5. Defensive tackle David Onyemata had two sacks amid his bullying play. Jackrabbit Jenkins had an interception and five passes defensed, with six tackles. Linebacker Demario Davis had a sack, two quarterback hits, a pass defended, a tackle for loss and seven tackles. But collectively, the group effort was the thing: 248 yards allowed (just 52 rushing), eight sacks, seven tackles for loss, two interceptions, 11 quarterback hits and 11 passes defended. It doesn't get much more collective than that.

SPECIAL TEAMS: It's always a good laugh when New Orleans has one of those games in which Thomas Morstead doesn't have to punt. He'll usually take a postgame picture with quarterback Drew Brees or another teammate, type a funny comment with it and post it to his social media accounts. But it's also comforting for the Saints to know that when they need him, Morstead still delivers the goods. On Sunday, two of his four punts were downed inside the 20 and on the one punt the Falcons attempted to return, Brandon Powell was tackled for no gain. Morstead had a net average of 39.8 yards but on Sunday, he didn't need the distance as much as he wanted the height and placement.

Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons matchup in Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season.

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