Someone’s got to make a movie about Taysom Hill. The most explosive player in the NFL Sunday was Hill, a part special-teamer, part backup-QB, part running back. He scored four touchdowns, three rushing and a beautiful 22-yard TD pass to tight end Adam Trautman. His 228 rushing yards is more than Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Alvin Kamara, and his 10.9-yard rushing average leads the NFL. His 60-yard rushing TD was the winning score in a 39-32 victory over Seattle.
You might know Hill’s origin story. Sean Payton spotted the 6-2, 225-pound block of granite in the 2017 preseason when Hill was about to get cut by the Packers, and he signed Hill to the Saints’ practice squad. Payton hired Mike Westhoff to coach special teams for the Saints in midseason that year. As Westhoff told me: “I just get there, and I’m walking through the locker room and I see this young man coming out of the shower wrapped in a towel. And he looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I met him, and he says he’s a quarterback. I went immediately to Sean Payton’s office. I said I had a lot of luck with quarterbacks in special teams. I had a long talk with him. I loved him. He’s explosive but more than that he’s tough. He can hit. Runs in the 4.4s. He’s athletic. All of a sudden he became a special teams star for us.”
On Sunday night, Hill told me he realizes his good fortune to have found his way to a place that believed in him. “There are guys much more talented than I am who never got a chance to do what I’m doing,” Hill said. “As I reflect on it, I owe so much to Mike [Westhoff] and to Sean and so many others here who gave me a chance—who continue to give me a chance.”
Like offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael now. At halftime Sunday, Carmichael told Hill he had something planned for the second half—the first pass Hill would throw this season. He’s had a few cups of coffee at quarterback for the Saints, but he wasn’t consistent enough to get the regular gig. After Hill ran for two scores in the first half, when he came in late in the third quarter, the Seahawks assumed he’d be running it again. The linebacker sucked up toward the line and let Trautman leak past, and Hill’s lofted TD throw hit Trautman in stride. “I was expecting single-high [safety] coverage,” he said, “and I’m sure Adam was too. But they were obviously thinking run, and he was wide open.”
Taysom Hill does it ALL
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 9, 2022
The Saints, 2-3, will need more explosive plays from Hill because of injuries to key receivers and a defense that hasn’t been nearly as good as expected. Hill played only 23 snaps Sunday but scored 24 points. That’s a pretty good return on investment for New Orleans.