Two QBs bring 'juice' to Saints offense: Drew Brees and Taysom Hill

Brees brings out the best in weapons (1:00)

Ryan Clark says that Drew Brees' age has yet to factor in to his consistent production and precision passing. (1:00)

ATLANTA -- Left tackle Terron Armstead was so fired up by Drew Brees' improbable 7-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter Sunday -- when Brees somehow used a spin move to avoid being flattened by two Atlanta Falcons defenders -- that he chased down his quarterback in the end zone and lifted him in the air.

"Drew is the GOAT," Armstead said. "So to see the GOAT spinning on two people, I was definitely excited. It was crazy."

Without question, we witnessed the greatest rushing performance by a New Orleans Saints quarterback in the Brees-Sean Payton era on Sunday.

The only debate is whether it was Brees or backup Taysom Hill who provided it during a wild 43-37 overtime win against the rival Falcons.

Hill, a third-string quarterback/special teams coverage ace/kickoff returner, added yet another wrinkle to his fascinating game when he ran the ball three times for 39 yards in a special read-option package -- including two critical third-down conversions in the fourth quarter.

But not to be outdone, Brees added to his own legendary status with the game-tying, 7-yard TD run with 1:24 remaining -- then a game-winning touchdown dive from the half-yard line in overtime.

To Armstead, there was no arguing which run drew the biggest reaction from the team.

"Definitely Drew's 7-yard run. Taysom is an 'A.T.H.' An athlete. He don't have a position, he's an athlete. But Drew is the GOAT," Armstead said of Brees -- who, oh by the way, threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns and broke Brett Favre's NFL record for career completions.

"Drew is the greatest," Armstead continued. "I'm not saying it because I play with him. He's the greatest. How could you dispute? How could you argue he's not the greatest quarterback to ever live? What more does he have to do? Seriously. It's an honor to play with him and to watch him."

Even Hill himself gave the nod to Brees.

"When you see a guy like Drew that has been doing this for so long, that is committed to win the way that he is, I think when everyone on the sideline saw that play, I think everyone knew that we weren't gonna lose this football game," Hill said. "Sometimes you have to take a step back and realize that, 'This dude's special.'"

Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins agreed with Armstead's vote -- for a slightly different reason.

"I'm not gonna lie. When I saw those two guys [Falcons cornerbacks Brian Poole and Robert Alford], I said, 'Please just don't kill him. Don't kill him. Don't kill him,'" Rankins said.

And Payton had a unique perspective, as well.

"I've been battling this plantar fascia for the last two months. And I told him it felt like it hurt me more watching him," Payton said. "Honestly, it started aching -- my plantar fascia, just watching. But it was a good run."

Brees joked he was "inspired by Taysom's run" of 35 yards earlier in the fourth quarter.

In truth, though, Brees reluctantly took off running after he scrambled to his left when nobody was open on the right side of the field. Poole appeared to have him wrapped up, but Brees timed his spin move perfectly.

"At some point, I felt like they were coming to try to take my head off and I could probably spin out of this. It was just a reaction," said Brees, who said he'll use it as a teaching moment for his sons' flag football teams that he coaches. "Now I have video evidence to show them that, hey, spin moves work."

Chances are we might never see another run like that from Brees again -- even if he does decide to play until he is 45 years old.

Hill, on the other hand, is just getting started.

Undrafted out of BYU last year, the dual-threat quarterback spent last summer with the Green Bay Packers before being picked up by New Orleans.

As a passer, Hill wasn't able to show enough consistency this summer to lock down the Saints' No. 2 job. (They wound up trading a third-round draft pick for Teddy Bridgewater instead).

But Payton has remained enamored with Hill's athleticism and skill set at 6-foot-2, 221 pounds. Last year, he and special-teams coach Mike Westhoff decided to use Hill in special teams coverage -- and it worked brilliantly. Last week, they made him the lead kickoff returner, which also paid immediate dividends with a 47-yard kickoff return.

And they have also been using him on offense as a read-option quarterback -- usually with Brees kicking out to wide receiver.

The first time the Saints tried it in Week 1, Hill handed the ball off to Alvin Kamara for a touchdown run. This week, he kept the ball himself twice, including a 35-yard gain on third-and-2 and a 2-yard gain on third-and-2 when he lunged just enough to move the chains.

"It's amazing the energy you feel on our bench when he made the long run," Payton said. "And he brings that same juice to special teams. Everyone gets better. Those are unique players. Those are guys that love football. And our job as coaches is looking at them and [figuring out], 'How do we give them opportunities to do what they love well?'"

Payton also said he likes Hill as a blocker on offense "a lot." Hill also gained 2 yards on a jet sweep run Sunday. And he actually drew a defensive holding penalty when he ran a route into the end zone in the first quarter.

Payton has already cemented his reputation as one of the NFL's great offensive minds. But Hill's emergence has provided a fascinating opportunity to expand his repertoire.

When asked if he has always had all those wrinkles in his mind or if he has been designing them to specifically utilize Hill, Payton joked, "I hadn't give it much thought with Drew, to be honest with you, in 12 years."

But Payton compared the stress it puts on defenses to what the Saints have to put up with when they face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers twice a season.

"With Taysom, there's a package there. And he's not just a running back or receiver; he can throw. And we'll build on what we can do with it," Payton said.

Hill, meanwhile, has been embracing every bit of it.

"I love it," Hill said. "I know I've played quarterback throughout my career, but I'm a competitor first. So to have the opportunity to be on the field and make plays is what I'm all about.

"I love that our coaches see something in me, and they're willing to give me opportunities. And when you've got a coach that believes in you and creates opportunities for you, I think the sky's the limit."