Hey everyone. This is part two of my 10 greatest victories in Saints’ history. Part one, victories 10 though 6 was released last Saturday (Feb. 28).
I present to you the top five wins in New Orleans Saints’ history. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.
Also, this is my fourth Saints-related article since the Super Bowl. So if you enjoy this, be sure to check out my other three.
There are defining moments, defining games, in every great season.
And there’s no doubt that the Saints’ total demolition of the Patriots on Monday Night Football in the Superdome was the signature victory of their regular season.
The Saints were getting to play the role of hero on national TV: 99.6 percent of America was rooting against New England. That was nothing new. But as it turned out, the whole country got to see just how good those 11-0 Saints really were.
Tom Brady was returning to the Superdome, the site of his miraculous upset of the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. But he and his Patriots had no chance of winning on this night. And with the score 24-10 “good guys” by halftime, the game that had so much hype preceding it all week had turned into an absolute laugher.
Drew Brees had the greatest game of his career. And he did it while completing just 18 passes. 18 passes, that is, for 371 yards and five touchdowns.
He finished with a flawless 158.3 QB rating.
Talk about coming up big in big spots. And the playoffs were still five weeks away. The funny thing was that neither Brees nor his Saints played another game anywhere near as well as this until their postseason opener versus Arizona.
At the time, this was easily the biggest victory in the history of the franchise.
It was New Orleans’ first ever playoff win, coming in its fifth attempt. And to make things even sweeter, it came against the “Greatest Show on Turf” St. Louis Rams.
The 2000 Saints won their division at 10-6, while the Rams had to settle for a wild-card spot. How that happened, well, nobody knows.
The defending Super Bowl champion Rams had Kurt Warner at quarterback, while the Saints had Aaron Brooks. The Rams had Marshall Faulk at running back, while the Saints had Chad Morton. The Rams had Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt at wide receiver, while the Saints had Joe Horn and Willie Jackson.
But somehow, some way, the Saints won this game. They opened up a 31-7 fourth-quarter lead before the road-warrior-Rams responded by scoring three touchdowns in the game’s final nine minutes to pull to within three.
But St. Louis’ furious comeback was too little too late, and the Saints finally had a postseason win to celebrate.
The ’06 Saints were 2-0. They had begun their season with two wins on the road. But it was their first game in the Superdome since Hurricane Katrina that really gave their fans a sense of hope they so rarely had.
Having new coach Sean Payton and new quarterback Drew Brees gave their city hope. But it was an unheralded special teams player named Curtis Deloatch that also gave Saints' fans hope on this unforgettable night.
Just one-minute and 30 seconds into the game, Deloatch scooped up a blocked punt and raced into the end zone for a quick 6-0 Saints lead that got the Superdome back in full swing.
This dominant victory signified the “rebirth” of both the Saints’ franchise, and in some ways, the city of New Orleans. It was a special game featuring a sense of emotion that transcended sports. And the whole country got to watch it on a Monday night in September.
Deloatch, meanwhile, would leave the NFL after the 2007 season, at the age of 26.
No game summed up the story of the 2009 Saints better than this overtime thriller. These Saints weren’t always great. They didn’t make every play. They only made the plays they absolutely had to make in order to win. And in the end, that is the mark of greatness.
The Saints found a way to win this game, though the statistics were tilted so far in Minnesota’s favor:
The Vikings had over twice as many first downs, 31 to 15.
The Vikings piled up over 200 more offensive yards, 475 to 257.
The Vikings were 7-of-12 converting on third down. New Orleans was just 3- of-12.
The Vikings ran almost 30 more offensive plays and held the ball for almost nine more minutes.
But the Saints won. Not just because they forced five takeaways. But because they forced three of those takeaways when Minnesota was in scoring position.
And of course, none of those turnovers were as huge as Tracey Porter’s interception at the end of regulation. The takeaway prevented the Vikings from attempting a game-winning 53-yard field goal, and gave Drew Brees and the offense a chance to mount a magical drive in overtime.
No surprise here, right?
The Saints, throughout their entire franchise history, were usually the team that gave up the big plays at the end of a game.
Too often over the last 40 years, their offense couldn’t make a drive, their defense couldn’t make a stop, and their special teams couldn’t turn around a game for the better. And their opponents always benefited, and celebrated, at the Saints’ expense.
But the 2009 Saints could do all those things needed to win. And all three areas of their team contributed equally in their Super Bowl XLIV victory.
It’s important to remember that Indianapolis entered this game a perfect 16-0. 16-0, that is, including the playoffs, when their starters played for an entire game. Forget the meaningless losses to the Jets and Bills. New Orleans was the only team to beat them all year in a game they were actually trying to win.
The Colts didn’t lose this game. The Saints simply won it.
(Finally it’s a happy one for the Saints)