Several BYU alums made an impact for their respective NFL teams this past weekend. There was no other spectacle bigger for BYU fans than what happened at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. The New Orleans Saints visited the New York Jets for a Sunday matchup of former BYU quarterbacks.
This marked the first time since the 1996 NFC Wild Card Round game between Steve Young’s 49ers and Ty Detmer’s Eagles that both starting quarterbacks of an NFL game were former BYU signal callers.
Taysom Hill made his second straight start for the Saints. He played QB for the Cougars from 2012 to 2016, racking up 6,929 passing yards and 2,815 rushing yards during his time in Provo.
Zach Wilson continued his up-and-down rookie season with the Jets after being selected No. 2 overall in the draft. He became the highest draft pick to ever come out of BYU following an eye-popping 2020 campaign with the Cougars that led to him finishing eighth in Heisman voting.
It was clear from the get-go that the Saints had the supporting cast around Hill that the Jets severely lack around Wilson. New Orleans played a suffocating defense, limiting Wilson and the Jets to just nine points on 256 yards.
Wilson’s weapons did him no favors, especially running back Ty Johnson, who dropped three passes from Wilson, at least two of which would have resulted in first downs.
Wilson made a few costly mistakes himself. At times, he looked inaccurate, sailing passes over the heads of open receivers, mistiming throws or spiking would-be easy completions into the turf. Then, on the other hand, he made several throws that showed his elite arm talent and serious zip on the football. His rookie year has been a volatile roller coaster, but anyone who watches his games knows the stats do not truly depict his talent and potential. He finished 19 for 42 (45.2 percent) for 202 yards and a lowly 59.8 passer rating. He was also the Jets’ team leader with 33 rushing yards.
Meanwhile, Hill made a statement against the Jets defense that he should be the man in the Big Easy moving forward. He was efficient through the air, completing 15 of 21 passes (71.4 percent) for 175 yards. On the ground, he was even more effective, collecting 73 yards and two rushing touchdowns, including a 44-yard run, marking the second time this season he reached the end zone on the ground multiple times.
The Saints ended up vanquishing the Jets 30-9, much in part to Taysom Hill’s efforts. While he still doesn’t display the elite deep pass ability most NFL teams want in a franchise quarterback, he has done just enough to keep the Saints afloat in the playoff race.
Other notable BYU alums
Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers: 7 tackles, 1 QB hit
Michael Davis, CB, Los Angeles Chargers: 3 tackles, TFL, 4 passes defended
Kyle Van Noy, LB, New England Patriots: 1 tackle, 1 QB hit, 1 pass defended
Daniel Sorensen, S, Kansas City Chiefs: 1 tackle, 2 passes defended