It's one of the goals, and for it to happen this early, it's the first step. New Orleans offense could not capitalize on this turnover as they went 4 and out.
New Orleans wins the NFC South Title for the third consecutive season. But after almost going to the Super Bowl last season, they clearly want more.
"This was objective No. 1, obviously: win the division", Saints quarterback Drew Brees said per Mike Triplett of ESPN. They have had heartbreak in the postseason for the last couple of years. Brees completed 18-of-30 for 184 yards and one touchdown. NFL.com noted that Hill is the second quarterback since 1950, and the first since Jim McMahon in 1983, to catch and run for a touchdown in the same game.
Ryan fumbled in the fourth quarter when hit by Marcus Davenport. Ryan completed 35-of-50 passes for 312 yards two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also kept his feet and galloped for what would have been a 39-yard return if not for Jordan's seemingly needless block-in-the-back penalty.
Ryan was playing without his top receiver Julio Jones, who is injured. It's an imperfect game played by imperfect people.
The win leaves Buffalo 1 1/2 games behind first place New England, who travel to Houston for a Sunday night game.
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At worst, the Saints can be the No. 4 seed, but playing outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome makes things much tougher for this team, especially without the help of tens of thousands of roaring Saints fans.
For the season, Hill had 29 touches (16 runs, 13 receptions) for 241 yards. Left guard Andrus Peat missed his third straight game since breaking his arm against Atlanta on November 10. Christian Blake had six catches for 57 yards. He also attempted a pass in the game and it was incomplete.
Brees has looked older and missed some throws in this game, whether it was overshooting a wide-open Jared Cook or miscommunicating with Alvin Kamara on an option route.
Michael Thomas was held in check in this game.
Both teams are coming off huge victories including Baltimore's almost flawless 45-6 rout of the Los Angeles Rams. This game was controlled by New Orleans throughout until that late scare, which is really rare.
Hill's versatility has led him from a free agent not recruited two years ago (by the Packers) to the wire collection exemption (by the Saints) to a secret weapon for a Super Bowl contender. However, if the San Francisco 49ers lose this weekend on the road against the Baltimore Ravens (9-2) and if the Seattle Seahawks (9-2) beat the Minnesota Vikings (8-3) at home on Monday night, New Orleans could potentially move into the number one spot in the NFC. The Falcons beat the Panthers 29-3 on November 17.
Ryan already led the league in sacks absorbed with 38 in the first 11 games, before taking last night's beating (and a brutal stiff-arm).