As the run-up to the 2013 NFL season hits its stretch run – 16 days and counting before training camp begins – we thought at WWLTV.com it’d be a good time to get the blood flowing for Saints fans.
And what better way to do so than by looking back at some of the biggest or most impressive wins in the Sean Payton Era.
Certainly our order can be dissected and changed and a game we left off could be put on the list. Feel free to leave your thoughts or memories on the particular game chosen today below in the comments section.
No. 10: Saints handle Cowboys in '06
No. 9: Saints maul Falcons in '11
No. 8: Saints overcome deficit, Dolphins in '09
No. 7: Saints ride Deuce to playoff win in '06
No. 6: Saints gives Steelers nightmares on Halloween in '10
No. 5: Saints overpower Patriots on MNF in '09
No. 4: Saints get off to good start in Payton Era in '06
No. 3: Saints earn first conference title
No. 2: Saints coolly win SB XLIV (Feb. 7, 2010)
Saints 31, Colts 17
It would be easy to fight for New Orleans’ only Super Bowl win to be the marquee victory of the Sean Payton Era.
The Saints had a week to decompress after the emotional NFC championship game win over Minnesota before settling in for a week of preparation in Miami surrounded by the distractions of Super Bowl week.
One of the undercurrents of the two weeks heading into the game was how the Vikings, if not for the five costly turnovers, would have been in the game and deserved to be in the game. The Saints, some thought, lucked their way in.
So there was pressure on New Orleans to prove to the public at large that it belonged in the big game, that it could handle Peyton Manning and the high-flying Colts offense.
Payton relaxed the players with such gambits as dressing up as a bell hop when the team arrived at the hotel.
It appeared early, however, that the game was too big for the first-time participants. Indianapolis took a 10-0 first-quarter lead and looked ready to blow the game wide open.
But with kicker Garrett Hartley at his absolute best, the Saints stuck around, going to halftime down just 10-6.
And then Payton came through with maybe the best in-game decision of his career – ambush, the onside kick to open the second half. New Orleans recovered the ball and six plays later, Pierre Thomas scored on a screen pass.
Though the Saints gave up the lead on the next series, they firmly believed at that point and, after a missed field goal by the Colts, went in front for good on a Jeremy Shockey touchdown. Tracy Porter’s 74-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed the win.
How impressive was the win? The Saints were going to have a parade for the team regardless of whether they won or lost. To keep focus in spite of the goodwill being shown to the team after the NFC championship game was extraordinary.