Great rivalries are built over time, and for six decades now the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons have been providing each of their fans with memorable losses to pain the heart and ache the mind. With rivalry week coming here to SBN we’re going to explore some of the worst (and eventually best) wins over the Saints rivals starting with the Falcons.
Seasoned veterans of the Who Dat Nation will remember the drubbings the team received in the seventies an younger fans will be more familiar with the painful stretch of the late 90s. From 1969 to 1973 the Saints lost nine straight games to the Falcons including an extremely embarrassing 62-7 loss where Archie Manning threw five interceptions while completing only five passes.
I know everyone likes to remember Archie with only the fondest memories, but when Dick Shiner (yes... that is his name) out duels you in Tulane Stadium going 13/15 for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns it’s pretty hard to sugar coat. What might be worse is that Shiner only started four games for the Falcons that season finishing with 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Basically, he had one good game and of course it came against the Saints.
Not to be outdone, the 90s post-Dome Patrol Saints lost ten games in a row from 1995 until 1999. Three different coaches (Jim Mora, interim Head Coach Rick Venturi, and Mike Ditka) failed to notch a win against the Falcons. Now, to be fair, the Falcons did make it to the Super Bowl in 1998 only to lose 34-19 to the Denver Broncos. The score actually makes the game look closer than it really was, as Terrance Mathis caught a 3 yard touchdown pass from Chris Chandler in the end of the 4th Quarter to make it look like it was an entertaining game. It was not, unless you were a fan of the West Coast offense Broncos led by John Elway.
Nineteen losses to the Falcons have come through two horrible stretches in two decades (we want to forget). With them leading the all-time series 53-49 it’s pretty frustrating that the Saints couldn’t find a way to win just a couple of times during those stretches.
Obviously, under Sean Payton the Saints have managed to close the gap a little bit. But, that doesn’t mean the Payton era hasn’t had it’s fair share of extremely disappointing outings. While none of them might as bad as losing to the Falcons in the playoffs in 1991 it still isn’t fun to watch the home town kid Deion Jones pick off Drew Brees in the end zone to wrap up a loss during the 2017 season. Sure, the Saints got revenge on Christmas even but it still leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
What was Brees thinking? Surely there is a better target to go for than your backup tight end in a critical moment against your biggest rival in a prime time game?! Where was Micheal Thomas? Mark Ingram? Heck the Saints might have been better off throwing it to Brandon Coleman who actually finished 2017 with triple the amount of touchdowns as Josh Hill. I guess that’s just the nature of having a gunslinger at quarterback.
It’s not all bad, but it does get worse. Remember in 2012 when Brees put on his best Archie impression by throwing 5 interceptions against the Falcons? This is probably the worst game Brees has ever played throwing 50 passes, but only completing 28, and unable to notch a single touchdown pass. This was the same quarterback who had just set (and still holds) the record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass.
Not only did the defensive backs manage to swipe Brees’ lunch, but players like Jonathan Babineaux, a defensive tackle, got in on the interception action. Every layer of the Falcons defense managed to swipe a pass from the most accurate passer in NFL history. What a great memory.
Myself and fellow CSC writer Ross Jackson went over some of these losses in our podcast on Tuesday night. What are the worst losses in your memory? Which one of the failures of the Blood & Gold haunts you the most?
Don’t worry, we’ll be going over some of the most iconic wins later in the week!
Worst loss to the Falcons?
This poll is closed
1973 - 62-7, Archie throws 5 INTs
1991 - 27-20, Lone playoff loss to Falcons as 6 point favorites
2012 - 23-13, Brees throws 5 INTs
Other (comment below)