Sunday the New Orleans Saints were without their regular starting quarterback, Jameis Winston, when they faced off against the Seattle Seahawks in a Week 5 matchup of teams looking to move further away from the bottom of the NFC. And while it was Andy Dalton who got the nod as the starter in Winston’s absence, it was 32-year old Taysom Hill who stole the show, rushing for more than a hundred yards against a Seattle defense that struggled to slow either Hill or Alvin Kamara on the day.
However, in spite of Hill’s success on the ground, one of the most back breaking plays was made with his arm, rather than his legs. With less than a minute to go in the third quarter, Hill took a 2nd & 8 snap and rather than taking off with the ball, dropped back to pass. The result was a seam route to a wide open Adam Trautman on which Hill had multiple options who were entirely uncovered. Here’s what the play looked like on television.
Not everything can be seen on the broadcast angle, of course, so here’s how the play developed according to the dots.
Dots on Taysom Hill's touchdown pass. Seahawks were totally lost -- Hill had Adam Trautman on the post AND J.P. Holtz down the sideline wide open for scores.https://t.co/ETeOgKYAl7— Vincent Verhei (@FO_VVerhei) October 10, 2022
And for those who don’t want to bother to click through to the actual dots, here is what things looked like at the moment that Trautman passed linebacker Jordyn Brooks.
In this image it is possible to see what the Seattle defense was attempting to do on the play. Having loaded the box with eight defenders, Boye Mafe is rushing from his outside linebacker position while Ryan Neal has stepped up to protect against a run by Hill. Christian Jones (48), Cody Barton (57), Jordyn Brooks (56) and Neal (26) all appear to be keying on Hill, waiting to see where he runs with the ball. At the same time, Artie Burns (21) and Quandre Diggs (6) are effectively playing as two deep safeties, while Tariq Woolen (27) is on Alvin Kamara on the offensive left side.
What is readily apparent from this image is the fact that all three of Trautman (82), Juwan Johnson (83) and J.P. Holtz (88) are in the pattern to the offensive right side, with Burns the only defender between those three and the end zone. Just a moment later it’s possible to see how the play has developed, and how Hill had plenty of options regarding where to throw the ball.
The pass obviously went to Trautman, but Holtz is wide open as well and Hill could have just as easily thrown the ball that direction.
In short, for all the fans screaming about the defense needing to adjust and account for Hill as a runner and to use a spy on him or key on him, the Seahawks did just that. In fact, it appears they used multiple defenders keying on Hill to the point that the result was an absolutely disastrous play on which not just one, but two, Saints were completely uncovered in the pattern and a third was more than five yards away from the nearest defensive back. In short, the defensive coaching staff did exactly what fans have been screaming about, and Taysom Hill and the Saints offense made the Hawks pay.
And now it’s on to Week 6 and the Arizona Cardinals.