The Saints extended their winning streak to nine games on Sunday behind Taysom Hill’s third straight victory in relief of the injured Drew Brees. Hill is just the fifth QB to make a start for New Orleans since Sean Payton joined the Saints in 2006, which is the third-fewest of any team in the NFL in that span, behind the Giants (four) and Chargers (three).
Of the five QBs to start games for New Orleans under Payton, Brees — the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards — stands head and shoulders above the rest. But don’t forget, before Brees got together with Payton, he averaged a measly 209.1 pass yards per game.
Two QBs went winless under Payton, albeit in spot-start duty: Mark Brunell lost a meaningless Week 17 game in 2009, and Luke McCown lost a Week 3 game in 2015 to the eventual NFC champion Panthers.
Fast forward to 2018-19, when Payton guided Teddy Bridgewater to a 5-1 record, with Bridgewater’s only loss being another Week 17 game where key starters did not suit up. During his five-game winning streak in 2019, Bridgewater, who had a 85.9 career passer rating entering that season, saw his passer rating shoot up to 103.7, which was ninth-best in the NFL during his time as the starter.
And then there is Hill, who is having success in his own unique way — via efficiency and running, becoming the only QB since 1950 with a passer rating above 90 and at least four rushing TDs in his first three QB starts. Yes, Hill needed 63 career pass attempts to throw his first TD pass. But then, against Atlanta on Sunday, Hill rushed for a career-high 83 yards, which is a total the 20-year veteran Brees has only hit four times in a season. Hill may be unconventional behind center, but two constants remain: Payton is pulling all the right strings, and the wins continue to pile up.