Heavenly start: 5 observations from the Saints’ dramatic 27-26 win over the Falcons

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 11: Cornerback Bradley Roby #21 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Heavenly start: 5 observations from the Saints’ dramatic 27-26 win over the Falcons

The Saints started their season off on the right foot with a dramatic 27-26 win over heated division rival Atlanta. Here are five thoughts on their season-opening victory:

Taysom Hill is still the Swiss Army Knife:

Taysom Hill was switched to tight end on the depth chart. He had two quarterback keepers in the first half. One was a 57-yard run on a third down conversion. Two plays later, he had an 11-yard touchdown run. He lined up as a traditional tight end and split out wide. His runs on the QB keepers are a thing of beauty. The defense sees him in shotgun formation. They know what’s coming, but they can’t stop it. He had four runs for 81 yards and a touchdown. His one catch for two yards came from his new tight end position.

Offense was a tale of two halves:

The Saints rushed for 106 yards in the first half and 151 overall. Offensive lines love to run block. When you think their pass blocking will be an issue, running helps. They had -2 yards passing in that first half but amassed 236 in the second half of the dramatic comeback.

Run defense got gashed:

The Saints run defense last season was top five in the league. Against the Falcons, they looked more like a bottom five run defense. There were read options, power plays, zone reads, play action, you name it. They couldn’t fight themselves out of a wet paper bag. The pistol formation gave them fits. It allowed runners to gain momentum before attacking the line of scrimmage. They gave up their first 100-yard rusher in 20 games!

Chenistry was a factor:

The offensive line was ineffective. They gave up four sacks against a team that had 18 all of last season. Besides that, Jameis Winston was under pressure all game. The blitzes the Falcons used were varied, but they shouldn’t have given this line that many fits. There were several slips on the turf, as well as some miscues in the pass game. The defense got caught out of position numerous times on misdirection and read option plays. Not having much time together on the field may have hurt. Things got better late in the game. Both offense and defense pulled it together late.


The Saints are known for dramatic games. Win or lose, they’ll entertain! They trailed by 16 at one point in the 4th quarter. The comeback was completed after a 51-yard field goal and a defensive stand. That stand included a blocked 63-yard field goal attempt to seal the deal!

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