Taysom Hill's not the quarterback. But he remains a valuable player for the Saints.
The New Orleans utility player showed why on Monday with 30-yard touchdown catch that put him in the NFL record books.
With the Saints facing second-and-9 in the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Hill lined up in the slot and cut wide toward the left sideline on a pass play. Cornerback Jamel Dean followed tight end Adam Trautman over the middle, and Hill broke free from safety Keanu Neal on a busted zone coverage. Hill then streaked down the sideline and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton to give the Saints a 7-3 lead.
With the score, Hill became the first player in the Super Bowl era to record nine-plus touchdowns as a runner, receiver and passer. Hall of Famer Frank Gifford achieved the feat with the New York Giants in the 1950s and 60s. Hill entered play on Monday with 21 career rushing touchdowns, nine passing touchdowns and eight receiving touchdowns.
After starting nine games at quarterback in the previous two seasons under former coach Sean Payton, Hill's seen limited reps behind center in 2022, with 14 passing attempts under first-year head coach Dennis Allen. He's made the bulk of his contributions on the ground as the Saints' second-leading rusher with 409 yards and a team-best six total touchdowns entering Monday's game.
The Bucs learned the hard way that he's also a threat as a pass-catcher and a player who demands attention from the defense no matter where he lines up. They gave him that attention with a key pass breakup by Keanu Neal late in the fourth quarter as they rallied a dramatic 17-16 victory.