The Five Best Games In The New Orleans Saints/New England Patriots All-time Series
On Sunday afternoon, the New Orleans Saints travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts, to take on the New England Patriots, in the 13th all-time meeting between the two franchises.
The Patriots, who are 4-1 on the young 2013 NFL season, have won eight of the twelve meetings, which date back to 1972, but the Saints, who are a perfect 5-0 on the season, won the last meeting, 38-17, back in 2009, snapping a three-game losing streak.
As we await Sunday’s match-up, let’s go back and take a look at the five best all-time games between the two franchises.
1)—Patriots 7, Saints 0—December 4, 1983—(Foxboro, Massachusetts)
This one gets overlooked, due to the fact that there was little offense.
When it comes to importance however, this particular game tops my personal list.
This game is easy for me to remember, due to the fact that I was in the then Abdalla’s (now Sonic) Christmas Parade. In the days before smart phones and social media, I was an emotional wreck the entire afternoon, not knowing what was going on. As a matter of fact, with the lack of all-sports television back in the day, I didn’t even see highlights until that night, during The George Michael (not the singer from WHAM!) Sports Machine.
The Saints went in at 7-6 and were looking for their first-ever winning season, and first-ever playoff berth, under head coach Bum Phillips, who had Saints fans chanting “Who Dat?!?!?” for the very first time.
It was 34 degrees at Sullivan Stadium, with a wind chill of 22, with snow falling in the first quarter. As a result, 24,579 were in attendance.
New England running back Tony Collins scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and that was it for the afternoon, as the Patriots went on to win 7-0.
New Orleans actually out-gained the Patriots, in terms of total offense, 278-207, but they also hurt themselves fumbling over the football three times.
Meanwhile, running back Mosi Tatupu helped control the ball, and the clock, for the Patriots, gaining 128 yards, on 21 carries.
The loss was a big one for the Saints in franchise history, as they dropped to 7-7, then went on to finish the year at 8-8, missing out on the playoffs by one frustrating game.
Many people view the final game of the 1983 season, the one against the Rams, when Mike Lansford kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired, as the one that the Saints let get away, and kept them out of the playoffs for the first time ever, and personally, I think that’s true, but this one easily ranks second.
Here’s the Monday, December 5 edition of the Lewiston Daily Sun, with a game story.
2)—Patriots 21, Saints 20—Sunday, November 30, 1986—(New Orleans, Louisiana)
This was another one that was really hard to swallow, as a number of Saints game were in the first 40 years, or so, of the franchise.
The Saints, who went into the game at 6-6, under first-year head coach Jim Mora, was shooting for their still first-ever winning season, taking on a Patriots team that was in the Super Bowl just a year prior.
After a scoreless first half, the Saints took the lead 13-7, and had the football, with approximately 4:00 remaining.
Then disaster struck, as New England blocked a punt, which was scooped up by Mosi Tatupu (there’s that guy again!), who picked it up and raced 17 yards for a touchdown with 3:51 left.
With under 2:00 left, the Patriots got another non-offensive touchdown, as defensive lineman Brent Williams ran back a fumble 21 yards, giving the Pats a 21-20 lead, and the eventual one-point win.
The Saints lost two of their next three games to close out the year, finishing 7-9, and missing out on not only the playoffs, but also their first-ever winning season.
Take a look at the Monday, December 1 edition of the Los Angeles Times, with a game story.
3)—Saints 38, Patriots 17—Monday, November 30, 2009—(New Orleans, Louisiana)
This is the one that most Saints fans would probably have on the top of their own list, which I totally get. It is the most recent game, that just happened to be played in the Saints’ Super Bowl season, on a Monday night, against a franchise that has had enormous success since the turn of the century.
I get it. That doesn’t mean however, that I have to agree with it.
To me, it was the Saints’ most impressive game against the Patriots, but not necessarily the best game.
Truth be told, it wasn’t all that great of a game, as the Saints really had their way, winning 38-17.
New Orleans was up, 28-10, at half, and never looked back.
That finished with more than 100 total yards than New England (480-366), and forced three Patriot turnovers.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees had a field day, throwing for 371 yards and five touchdowns, while the Saints’ defense coaxed two interceptions from New England quarterback Tom Brady.
This win moved the Saints to 11-0 that year, on their way to a franchise record 13-0 to start the year, and may have cemented them as the team to beat in 2009.
For that, I will rank the 2009 game third, but because of the margin of victory, I can’t put it any higher.
Let’s go back to 2009, and take a look at a game recap of that Saints/Patriots contest, courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
4)—Patriots 30, Saints 27—Sunday, October 4, 1998–(New Orleans, Louisiana)
You remember this 1998 game, don’t you?
The Saints went in at a perfect 3-0, after season opening wins over the Rams, Panthers, and Colts, and fans were getting excited about second-year head coach Mike Ditka’s squad.
New Orleans intercepted New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe three times, but Bledsoe led his team down the field, on the last drive of the game, and helped set-up Adam Vinatieri for a game-winning 27-yard field goal with :06 left.
The Saints wasted a good effort by quarterback Danny Wuerffel, who had the best game of his career, throwing for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
The Saints lost their momentum after this loss, losing three-straight, and five of six, while ending the year with a disappointing 6-10 record.
From the Chicago Tribune, we go back for a game recap.
5)—Saints 28, Patriots 24—Sunday, November 12, 1989—Foxboro, Masschusetts
After five-straight losses, the Saints finally got their first-ever win against the Patriots in 1989.
New Orleans looked as though they were going to run away and hide, jumping out to a 28-0 lead. But as they normally did back in the day, they made things interesting, as New England scored the next 24 unanswered points, before the Saints held on for the four-point victory.
Running back Dalton Hilliard led the way, rushing for 106 yards and two touchdowns, while the New Orleans defense forced four Patriots’ turnovers, to help the Saints win, despite being out-gained, 354-211.
Quarterback Steve Grogan was effective for the Patriots, passing for 283 yards.
At the time, the win improved New Orleans to 5-5 on the year.
The Saints missed out on the playoffs in 1989, but thanks in part to this win against the Patriots, they finished the year with a record of 9-7 for their third-consecutive winning season, and third in franchise history.
From Monday, November 13, 1989, here’s a game recap from the Los Angeles Times.
This Sunday afternoon, the Saints take on the Patriots at 3:25 pm (cst).
Who knows? Maybe the next time these franchises meet, this year’s game will make everyone’s list.