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Saints vs. Jets Series History

A New York State of Mind: New Orleans looks to end a five-game losing streak with a trip to the Big Apple.  A look back at the short series history between the Saints and Jets.

The 5-7 New Orleans Saints trek north to face the 3-9 New York Jets next Sunday. New Orleans has lost five straight, it’s longest losing streak in the 16-year tenure of head coach Sean Payton. New York has lost four of their last five and sit at the bottom of the AFC East.

This is the 14th meeting between the Saints and Jets. New Orleans holds a 7-6 all-time advantage between the teams, including a 4-3 edge when they play New York on the road.

First Meeting

Credit: Saints50.com

Credit: Saints50.com

The first game between these teams took place on December 3, 1972, in New York. A 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter by RB Bob Gresham pushed the Saints to a 10-6 halftime lead. New Orleans picked up 139 yards on the ground, led by a game-high 59 from Gresham.

The Saints extended their lead to 17-9 early in the fourth quarter on a short touchdown pass from QB Archie Manning to RB Bill Butler. Jets QB Joe Namath threw for 259 yards, but the New Orleans defense held New York out of the end zone all afternoon.

The Jets defense stiffened in the final quarter as they creeped back into the game. Three fourth quarter field goals from New York K Bobby Howfield allowed the Jets to pull out an 18-17 victory.

These teams wouldn't meet again until December 4, 1977, this time in New Orleans. Both squads had success on the ground, with the Saints rushing for 188 yards and the Jets countering with 141. Neither quarterback could boast that same kind of success.

Saints QB Archie Manning completed 13 of 24 attempts, but for only 148 yards while getting sacked five times. Jets QB Richard Todd, a future Saint, was 8 of 21 for 161 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

New Orleans RB Chuck Muncie led all rushers with 107 yards and scored a fourth quarter touchdown to put his team up 13-10. Once again, the Saints were unable to keep New York out of field goal range with the game on the line. Two Pat Leahy field goals helped the Jets to a 16-13 win.

Put Away The Bags

New Orleans Saints at New York Jets - 1980: credit: YouTube 

New Orleans Saints at New York Jets - 1980: credit: YouTube 

The 1980 season will go down in infamy for long-time Saints fans. New Orleans came into the year with high expectations after an 8-8 finish in 1979, the first non-losing season in franchise history.

The Saints started 1980 with a last second loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Their season crumbled into comical failure after that, as the team became a national punchline. Partway through an abysmal 14-game losing streak, fans began wearing paper bags over their heads at home games through the encouragement of local sportscaster Buddy Diliberto.

Just two games away from the first 0-16 season in NFL history, the Saints traveled to play the New York Jets on December 14, 1980. On an extremely windy day in Shea Stadium, New Orleans struck first on a touchdown pass from Archie Manning to WR Jack Holmes. The Jets came back with a touchdown run and two Leahy field goals to take a 13-7 halftime lead.

Considering the blustery conditions, Manning played well, completing 20 of 30 passes for 198 yards. New York's Richard Todd couldn't say the same, hitting on just 10 of 27 throws for 77 yards with two interceptions. The Jets stayed in the game behind 117 yards rushing from RB Tom Newton.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Saints regained the lead, 14-13, on a 1-yard scoring run from RB Tony Galbreath. The Jets answered with a 31-yard touchdown scramble from Todd. New Orleans responded with another 1-yard touchdown from Galbreath to pull out a 21-20 win for their only victory in 1980.

The 1980 New Orleans Saints were the first team in NFL history to finish 1-15.

It was the only win the Saints would have over the Jets in five meetings between 1972 and 1986. New Orleans rattled off three consecutive victories against the Jets between 1989 and 1995, including shutout wins at New York in 1992 and 1995.

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Losing Their Heads

Former Saints offensive lineman Kyle Turley (68). Credit: si.com

Former Saints offensive lineman Kyle Turley (68). Credit: si.com

The 2001 Saints came into the year with big expectations and fresh off the first playoff win in franchise history. They had an uneven 4-2 start to the year before hosting the New York Jets in a national Sunday night game on November 4, 2001.

It was a defensive battle, with both defenses holding their opponent under 280 yards. New Orleans flexed their muscle defensively with Pro Bowlers like S Sammy Knight, LB Keith Mitchell, and a powerful defensive line of La'Roi Glover, Norman Hand, Joe Johnson, Darren Howard, and Willie Whitehead.

A Saints offense loaded with firepower in dynamic QB Aaron Brooks, a 1,000-yard rusher in Ricky Williams, and two 1,000-yards receivers in Willie Jackson and Pro Bowler Joe Horn was held in check. Brooks was sacked six times, and the Saints turned the ball over four times.

New York took advantage of New Orleans miscues to hold a 13-0 halftime lead. The Saints got back into the game in the third quarter. Williams scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and the Saints got a safety to close to 13-9 entering the fourth quarter.

A Jets field goal late in the fourth widened their advantage to 16-9. With just 1:51 to play, Brooks engineered a 50-yard drive down to the New York six-yard line to put his team in a position to tie.

On second down, Brooks ran for a short gain around the left side. Jets S Damien Robinson brought him down by the facemask, which should have given the Saints a first-and-goal. Instead, New Orleans OT Kyle Turley pounced on Robinson to earn offsetting unnecessary roughness penalties.

Then, inexplicably, Turley ripped off Robinson's helmet and hurled it downfield. The resulting unsportsmanlike penalty pushed the Saints back to the 20-yard line. New Orleans was unable to get in the end zone in the next three plays and fell to a 16-9 defeat.

The 2001 Saints were an incredibly talented team on both sides of the ball. However, baffling letdowns and lack of discipline caused them to underachieve during much of coach Jim Haslett's six-year tenure. New Orleans was only able to make the playoffs in 2000. In 2005, the bottom dropped out on the franchise.

Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region in 2005, causing the Saints to play all their home games in either Baton Rouge or San Antonio. The result was a 3-13 season, causing Haslett to be fired at the end of the year.

One of those three victories was a road triumph over the Jets in a nationally televised game on Sunday, November 27. Brooks threw three touchdown passes, including a fourth quarter strike to WR Devery Henderson in a 21-19 win.

Sean Payton vs. Jets

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to pass against the New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) drops back to pass against the New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY 

The Saints hired Sean Payton to succeed Haslett in 2006. Payton also replaced Brooks with QB Drew Brees and revamped the entire roster. The result has been the most successful football in franchise history.

Payton's Saints are 2-1 against the Jets, but are 0-1 against them on the road. His first meeting against them was on October 4, 2009, in the Superdome. Two defensive touchdowns, including a 99-yard interception return by S Darren Sharper, helped the Saints to a 17-3 halftime lead on their way to a 24-10 win.

The next time these teams faced was on November 3, 2013, in New York. Brees threw for 382 yards and two scores, but the Saints were held to only 41 yards rushing and turned the ball over twice. Former Saint RB Chris Ivory ran for a game-high 139 of the Jets 198 yards on the ground in a 26-20 New York upset.

These teams last met on December 17, in the Superdome. New Orleans RB Mark Ingram had 151 yards from scrimmage and 2 scores, including a game-high 74 on the ground.

Saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara added 89 offensive yards and another score while WR Michael Thomas had 9 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. A fourth quarter 50-yard scoring run by Ingram clinched a 31-19 New Orleans victory.