Taysom Hill stood up at his post-game press conference displaying the same tape and splint he was forced to wear on his right middle finger while finishing out a Week 13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
He wouldn't point to it as an excuse for an ugly finish and four-interception day in the 27-17 defeat, but it was yet another injury adding to the insult of the Saints' first five game losing streak in 16 years.
“It took a little getting used to," Hill said. "Any time you put something else on a finger, traction on the ball and stuff, but it was OK.”
The injury occurred midway through the first quarter, with Hill hitting his hand on a Dallas defender during a follow-through on a pass. He went into the blue injury tent for the duration of the Cowboys' next drive, which ended in a toe-tapping touchdown to Michael Gallup. Backup Trevor Siemian was throwing warm-up passes on the sideline, but Hill emerged from the tent and resumed his role at QB for the next possession.
“It’s not broken," he said, simply. "I don’t know exactly what it is. We’ll assess it tomorrow.”
While Hill said the splint took getting used to, it didn't seem that way. His first throw was a dart for 27 yards to Juwan Johnson up the seam. The TE left the game with a neck injury of his own and didn't return. Hill eventually finished off that drive with a touchdown to a wide open Lil'Jordan Humphrey in the second quarter.
But from there, the passing game was inconsistent. The Saints defense kept the game within reach, even with an unfortunate drop-turned-interception deep in the red zone before halftime. Things changed when the game entered the fourth quarter, with three interceptions that effectively sealed the result. Hill finished with a line of 19-41 passing for 264 yards, 2 TDs and 4 INTs.
“You start pressing. Some of those things are just freak things. ... I don’t know what you’re supposed to do about things like that," Hill said. "But, look, I think we did some good things tonight. We did some things that we need to clean up, but we’ll assess that moving forward.”
The positive news, despite the loss? The plantar fascia injury that kept Hill out of the starting role the past two weeks wasn't much of a hindrance, based on the results. Hill rushed for 101 yards on 11 attempts, and didn't appear limited even if he had to endure pain in the injured foot. Now he can add his hand to that list, with 10 days to recover before the Saints travel to face the Jets in Week 14.
Both Payton and Hill spoke positively about some of the successes in the run game, even with Mark Ingram's longest run of the night getting called back for a hold on Nick Vannett. Hill said he mentioned to Payton at halftime that he thought the QB run game was working well to get him in rhythm. It wasn't an injury-based thing, both said, but it was a big factor in the offensive attack, for obvious reasons and with several playmakers still out with injuries of their own.
"I didn’t know we were gonna call them all on our next drive," Hill said with a grin. "But yea, I felt like that was nice. It’s just nice to get into a bit of a rhythm, get the ball moving and just get going. Just get into the game a little bit. You know, I’m a physical player and that stuff’s fun for me.”