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A History: Jets vs. Saints

Stacy Revere

The Saints lead the all-time series 6-5, while outscoring the Jets 217-172 in the process.

December 3, 1972: Looking to finish the season strong the Jets (6-5) looked to take advantage of the struggling Saints (2-8) in the first ever match-up between the two squads. In 14the first quarter, Bobby Howfield gave New York the first score of the game with a 30-yard field goal—the first of seven attempts that day. After answering with a field goal of their own, the Saints took their first lead in the second quarter when Bob Gresham bursted his way into the end zone. After two more Howfield field goals, with halftime sandwiched in between, the Jets trailed by a single point headed into the final quarter. Early in the fourth, though, Archie Manning struck, tossing an eight-yard pass to Bill Butler for the 17-9 lead. New York's defense held Manning and the Saints from scoring for the remainder of the game, and while they could not muster a single touchdown out of the 323 total yards they compiled on the day, the Jets got three more field goals in the fourth quarter from Howfield, delivering an 18-17 victory. Joe Namath went 21-40 for 259 yards and two interceptions that day.

December 14, 1980: Experiencing lost seasons, the Jets (3-11) met the winless Saints (0-14) late in the 1980 season. Eight years after their first meeting, Archie Manning, now 31, got New Orleans off to a fast start in this one, connecting with Jack Holmes on a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The Jets responded, though, scoring 13 points in the second quarter on a Kevin Long rushing touchdown and two field goals from kicker Pat Leahy. From there, the score remained deadlocked at 13-7 up until Saints running back Tony Galbreath scored on a one-yard touchdown, giving New Orleans a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. Jets quarterback Richard Todd and running back Tom Newton rallied Gang Green, marching down to the New Orleans 31-yard line. Todd then took off, busting off a 31-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown. 20-14 Jets. Archie Manning was able to rally the Saints as well, driving the ball all the way to the Jet one-yard line. Down six late in the game, Manning and the rest of team fleur de lis had no other option than to find a way to get into the end zone. That's when Galbreath scored his second TD of the fourth, giving the Saints a 21-20 lead and their first and only victory of the 1980 season.

November 21, 1983: The Jets (4-7) traveled to the Superdome, looking to pull off the upset against the Saints (6-5). The Jets found themselves in an early hole as Saints halfback George Rogers scampered 14 yards for a 7-0 lead in the first. Things quickly turned around for the men in green, however, when linebacker Lance Mehl picked off Saint QB Ken Stabler and returned it 34 yards to knot the game. Shortly after, Stabler was able to rebound from his mistake, connecting on a 38-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hoby Brenner. In the second quarter Jets running back Marion Barber—no, not that Marion Barber—busted his way into the end zone, tying the game at 14. Action picked up in the third for New Orleans as both Wayne Wilson and George Rogers rushed for touchdowns and the defense held the Jets scoreless. It was 28-14 entering the fourth. This game was over... or so it seemed. After New York had to settle for a field goal to open the quarter, the Jets were able to make key stops on defense, giving their offense a chance to close in on the lead. It was when Richard Todd threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Barkum that the Jets were realistically able to convert on an unlikely comeback. New Orleans wound up with 239 rushing yards on the day, but the Jet defense was tremendous in the fourth quarter as they held the Saints to almost nothing yardage wise. After forcing yet fourth down, the Jets were finally able to break through when Kirk Springs took the Russell Erxleben punt 76 yards to paydirt, giving New York a stunning 31-28 lead that they never relinquished. New York scored 17 points and held New Orleans to zero in the final 15.

October 4, 2009: The upstart Jets (3-0) faced off against the surprising Saints (3-0) in an early-season battle of undefeateds. After becoming the first—and still only—quarterback in NFL history to start 3-0, Mark Sanchez looked to add to his impressive young resume by delivering a big win the Superdome. After quickly falling behind by a field goal and being held scoreless after one, Sanchez and the Jets drove deep into Saints territory, where they found themselves one yard away from a lead. This game took a very sudden turn, however, when Sanchez was picked off in the end zone by Darren Sharper who then ran 99 yards for the pick-six and 10-0 lead. Things didn't get better for the Jets when soon after the interception, Sanchez fumbled in his own end zone, where it was recovered by Saint linebacker Remi Ayodele for the touchdown. Down 17-0 at the half, the Jets fought back in the third. After a Jay Feely field goal gave them their first points of the game, Pro Bowl back Thomas Jones found the end zone from 15 yards out, cutting the lead to seven. New York's defense had played a tremendous game through three quarters, allowing only three of the 17 Saint points. New Orleans was able to break through in the fourth, though, when Brees drove the Saints down the field and running back Pierre Thomas punched it in for the kill shot. The defense only allowed 10 points in the game, but four Jets turnovers—all committed by Sanchez—did them in on this day.

The Jets have had an incredibly up and down series with the Saints—similar to their 2013-2014 season thus far. New York hasn't won or lost consecutive games all year so, coming off of a loss, you almost feel good even though it is Drew Brees, Sean Payton and the 6-1 Saints. The two things the Jets have going here is a) The game is in their own building, and b) It can't be worse than last Sunday's 49-9 bludgeoning in Cincinnati.