New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton again called upon former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill in a critical moment Sunday as the Saints hosted the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFC divisional round playoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Hill delivered, rushing for a key first down on a fake punt as New Orleans overcame a two-score deficit to beat the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles 20-14 and advance to next week’s NFC championship game.
With the Saints trailing the Eagles 14-0 early in the second quarter and New Orleans facing a fourth-and-1 from its own 30-yard line, Payton called for Hill to run the ball up the middle on a fake punt.
Hill gained four yards to extend the drive.
Three plays after Hill’s fake and with Saints at the Philadelphia 19, Hill lined up at quarterback and appeared to look downfield to pass before tucking the ball and running for 4 yards. He had two carries for 8 yards in the game.
New Orleans capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Keith Kirkwood on fourth and goal. That helped spark the Saints scoring 20 unanswered points, as they won to advance to next Sunday’s NFC title game where they’ll face the Los Angeles Rams for a spot in the Super Bowl.
Hill also appeared to have his first postseason touchdown pass on the Saints’ first drive of the second half, when he threw a 46-yard strike to Alvin Kamara down the middle, but a holding penalty wiped out the score.
The play before, Hill, who was lined up at tight end, was also targeted on a long pass downfield to the goal line that was knocked away at the last moment by Philadelphia’s Avonte Maddox.
Hill also made the tackle on a kickoff return after the Saints took a 20-14 lead with 10:28 to play in the fourth quarter.
Here’s a look at how the other Utah ties on active NFL playoff rosters performed during the divisional round:
CHIEFS 31, COLTS 13
- Marcus Kemp, WR, Layton High: Played 21 special teams snaps.
- Daniel Sorensen, S, BYU: Started at safety and had three tackles, including a solo stop and a tackle for no gain on a third-and-10 play, while playing 47 defensive snaps and 10 on special teams.
- No locals on active roster
RAMS 30, COWBOYS 22
- JoJo Natson, WR/Ret., Utah State: Had two punt returns for 12 yards on eight special teams snaps.
- Dalton Schultz, TE, Bingham High: Started at tight end and made his first career postseason reception, good for 20 yards, while being targeted twice and playing 36 offensive snaps and nine on special teams.
- Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, Timpview High: Did not play, missing his second game after suffering an ankle injury in the regular-season finale.
PATRIOTS 41, CHARGERS 28
- Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU: Started at linebacker and had four solo tackles, including three stops for no gain, and a pass deflection deep downfield on a fourth-quarter play.
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- Michael Davis, CB, BYU: Started at cornerback and had five tackles, including three solo stops and a third-down tackle inside the Chargers’ red zone that forced New England to kick a field goal.
- Sam Tevi, OT, Utah: Started at right tackle, his 17th straight start for the Chargers and second playoff start in a row.
SAINTS 20, EAGLES 14
- Taysom Hill, QB, BYU: See above.
- Marcus Williams, FS, Utah: Started at free safety and had a pair of solo tackles.
- Haloti Ngata, DT, Highland High: Started at defensive tackle and had a pair of assisted tackles.