The New Orleans Saints finally play their first real home game of the season when they host the 0-3 New York Giants on Sunday. When Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana coast on August 29, it displaced the Saints organization to Dallas.
They've practiced in Texas since, playing the Packers in the regular season opener in Jacksonville as the ‘‘host'' team and playing at Carolina and New England the last two weeks.
This is the 31st meeting between the Saints and Giants, all during the regular season. New York holds a 16-14 advantage in the series, but New Orleans owns a 9-4 record against the Giants at home.
FIRST ALL-TIME MEETING
The first game between these teams took place on October 8, 1967, during the Saints inaugural season. After playing the first three games in franchise history at home, all losses, New Orleans played the first road game in franchise history in New York.
The Saints played the Giants evenly through the first two quarters, going into halftime tied at 14. Gary Cuozzo got his first start with New Orleans. He completed 14 of 28 throws for 156 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.
New York held the Saints to just 210 yards, while accumulating 535 yards of offense as they pulled away in the second half. Future Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton passed for 348 yards and two scores in a 27-21 Giants victory.
FIRST MEETING IN NEW ORLEANS
The Saints played the Giants in each of their first three seasons of existence on the road before finally hosting them on October 4, 1970. New Orleans still played their home games in Tulane Stadium at the time.
New York jumped to a 10-0 second quarter over the home team. The Giants outgained the Saints in total yardage on the day, 361-183, but New Orleans took advantage of crucial second half mistakes.
Rookie WR Ken Burrough caught a touchdown pass to narrow the Saints deficit to 10-7 before halftime. The second half was scoreless outside of a special teams fumble recovery by New Orleans WR Al Dodd that resulted in a touchdown. It was the deciding score in a 14-10 New Orleans victory, their first win of what would be a 2-11-1 season.
FIRST MEETING IN THE SUPERDOME
New York and New Orleans would play five times in the 1970s, with the Saints winning three matchups. The first time these teams played in the Superdome, which opened in 1975, was on October 29, 1978.
The Giants forged their way to a 17-7 halftime lead and rolled up 204 rushing yards on the Saints defense. They held New York quarterbacks to just 10 of 26 passing and intercepted them three times while putting together a second half comeback.
Saints running backs Chuck Muncie and Tony Galbreath combined for 168 total yards, including 107 on the ground. TE Henry Childs caught two second half touchdowns from QB Archie Manning in a 28-17 New Orleans victory.
TRAGEDY, PART I
One of the most tragic moments in American history took place on Monday, September 11, 2001. Terrorist attacks along the eastern seaboard resulted in the hijacking and crashes of four commercial airlines.
At the center of this tragedy was the city of New York. Two planes crashed into the Twin Towers, causing their collapse.
The NFL postponed their games that subsequent week, and the Giants were on the road when the league returned to action on September 23.
New York's first home game after the terrorist attacks was on September 30, against the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans outgained the Giants in total yardage, 330-253. New York got 111 yards rushing from RB Ron Dayne and powered their way to a 21-13 win.
The offensive coordinator for the Giants that day? None other than future Saints head coach Sean Payton.
TRAGEDY, PART II
Sunday won't be the first time that a major hurricane was one of the storylines in a game between the Saints and Giants. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans and most of the Gulf Coast region.
Katrina's damage to the Superdome and the city caused the Saints to play on the road for the entire 2005 season. Most of that year they played their home games in San Antonio or Baton Rouge. Their first home game of the season was scheduled to be on September 19, 2005, against the New York Giants.
In an atrocious and classless decision, the NFL moved the contest to New York but designated New Orleans as the ‘‘home'' team. Saints QB Aaron Brooks threw for 375 yards, 284 on a combined 17 receptions to wideouts Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth.
New Orleans was undone by six turnovers that afternoon, including three interceptions of Brooks, in a 27-10 defeat. The Saints floundered their way to a 3-13 season. It led to a change at head coach and quarterback.
SEAN PAYTON VS. GIANTS
Sean Payton was an offensive assistant for three different NFL teams before getting his first head coaching job with the Saints in 2006. One of those teams was the New York Giants, where Payton served as the offensive coordinator from 2000 to 2002.
Payton is 5-1 against the Giants as Saints head coach. That includes a 3-0 mark against them at home.
Payton's first meeting against his old team was in his first season with his new one, on December 24, 2006 in New York.
After surrendering the game’s first touchdown, Payton's Saints rolled to a 30-7 win behind 234 combined rushing yards from running backs Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush.
The next four meetings between these teams resulted in offensive explosions by both squads. In four contests between the Saints and Giants from 2009 to 2015, these teams combined for an average of 82 points per outing. Three of those games were in New Orleans, all Saints victories. In those four contests, the winning team scored at least 48 points and eclipsed the 50-point barrier twice.
A RECORD-BREAKING DAY
The last time these two played in New Orleans was on November 1, 2015. New York and New Orleans combined for 101 points, 63 first downs, and an incredible 1,024 yards of total offense. The Saints took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime. It was only the beginning of the offensive fireworks.
Giants QB Eli Manning completed 30 of 41 passes on the day for 350 yards and 6 touchdowns. His most damaging target was WR Odell Beckham, who caught 8 balls for 130 yards and three scores.
Not to be outdone, Saints QB Drew Brees had one of the finest days of his illustrious career. Brees completed 39 of 50 attempts. He tossed two interceptions, but threw for 505 yards and an NFL-record 7 touchdown passes.
Wideouts Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead combined for 12 receptions, 158 yards, and four of those scores. Venerable TE Ben Watson was the game’s leading receiver with 9 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown. WR Marques Colston added 8 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Behind by a touchdown with just seven minutes remaining, Brees led the Saints on an 80-yard scoring march. The drive ended with a touchdown toss to RB C.J. Spiller with just 36 seconds left to play.
With the game tied at 49, the New Orleans defense got a rare stop and forced the Giants to punt with 20 seconds on the clock. Saints returner Marcus Murphy avoided overtime by returning the kick 24 yards into New York territory.
With just five seconds to play, K Kai Forbath nailed a 50-yard field goal to give the Saints a heart-stopping 52-49 win.
These teams have split their last two meetings against each other, both in New York. The last game between them was on September 30, 2018. Four Wil Lutz field goals gave the visitors a narrow 12-7 halftime advantage.
New Orleans RB Alvin Kamara took control of the game over the final two quarters. Kamara rushed for three second half touchdowns. He had 181 yards from scrimmage, including 134 yards on the ground, a career-high at the time.
The last of his scores was a 49-yard burst through the end zone and into the tunnel. It clinched a 33-18 New Orleans victory.
Follow Bob Rose on Facebook and Twitter @bobbyr2613.
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