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Saints beat Falcons to clinch 3rd straight NFC South title

AP Photo New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and teammates celebrate a 26-18 victory over the Atlanta Falcons with turkey legs on Thanksgiving Day. The Saints clinched the NFC South title.

ATLANTA (AP) — Taysom Hill’s rare moment in the spotlight came in an important game for the New Orleans Saints.

Hill blocked a punt to set up his 3-yard touchdown catch before scoring again on a 30-yard run, and the New Orleans Saints clinched their third straight NFC South title by beating the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thursday night.

Hill stole the show on a roster filled with more established stars.

“When you have guys like Mike Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Cook, the list goes on, it kind of creates opportunities for little old me because it creates so much attention that’s put on those guys,” Hill said.

“Coach (Sean Payton) is one of the best at being creative and putting guys in positions to be successful. I got lucky because I was that guy tonight.”

The Saints (10-2) atoned for their 26-9 home loss to the Falcons on Nov. 10, their only defeat in the last 10 games.

With Julio Jones inactive due to a shoulder injury, the Falcons (3-9) had too little offense to keep pace with Drew Brees and the Saints. Atlanta recovered two onside kicks in the closing minutes, including one with 1:54 remaining, to make things interesting.

Matt Ryan was sacked by Cameron Jordan on a fourth-down play from the New Orleans 44 with 38 seconds remaining. Ryan was sacked nine times, including four by Jordan.

“We had to drop back and pass at the end of the game,” Ryan said. “When you do that and there’s really no threat of run, it’s tough sledding, particularly when you’re going against a good defense, a very good defensive line and one of the better pass rushers in the game in Cam Jordan.”

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