Bruce Clark Fumble Reovery | Saints and Bucs – 1986

Bruce Clark fumble recovery 1986 New Orleans Saints
Bruce Clark fumble recovery 1986 New Orleans Saints
Defensive End Bruce Clark gets a big fumble recovery against Tampa in 1986

Saints Defensive Lineman Bruce Clark Against Tampa Bay

Thanks to the efforts of new General Manager Jim Finks and new Head Coach Jim Mora the New Orleans Saints were going to be a vastly different team in the mid-1980s from what the NFL had been accustomed to in years past. The defense especially was beginning to come into it’s own. And while they still weren’t the calibre they would be in a few seasons, they were beginning to gain a reputation as a swarming, hard-hitting group even then.

Above we see defensive end Bruce Clark in the 1986 game against Tampa Bay after a fumble recovery. Saints Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson has just put the hit on the Bucs quarterback knocking the ball loose as Clark scoops it up. The Saints completely dominated both sides of the ball trouncing the Buccaneers 38-7. The offense ran for 4 scores and passed for another while racking up 450 yards of total offense. The defense held the Bucs in check with 5 sacks and 3 fumble recoveries.

Bruce Clark has always been one of the Saints most under-rated players of all time. He joined the Saints in 1982. Though originally, after an outstanding college career at Penn State, he was picked by Green Bay as their 1st-round pick in 1980 draft. But instead of playing for the Packers, he opted instead to go the Canadian Football League where he played 2 seasons for the Toronto Argonauts. When Clark returned to the NFL in 1982 New Orleans gave up a 1st round pick in the 1983 draft to get him. He would remain with the Saints until 1988. He was named to the 1982 NFL All-Rookie Team as well as going to the Pro Bowl in 1984.

Vince Buck – Saints Defensive Back 1990-1996

Vince Buck 52-yard punt return in 1991
Vince Buck 52-yard punt return in 1991
Vince Buck returns a punt 52-yards against Tampa Bay in 1991

Vince Buck with a 52-Yard Punt Return against Tampa

In 1991 the Saints were celebrating their 25th Anniversary season. But the special occasion was not the only thing the Saints were enjoying. 1991 was probably one of the best teams the Who Dat Nation had put together yet. Bobby Hebert and Steve Walsh split the quarterbacking duties and led an offense that, while not explosive, could challenge any any opposing defense the NFL had to offer. The strength of the team was, without a doubt, the opposite side of the ball, led by the legendary linebacking corps of the Dome Patrol, was establishing itself as a truly elite group.

And while the line backers were doubtless at the forefront of the success team’s success, there were other players involved. Above we see veteran cornerback Vince Buck who, along with Safety Gene Atkins, led the team with 5 interceptions apiece. Buck also held punt return duties as we see above. Here he returns the longest punt of his career – 52 yards – against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a strong defensive performance, the Saints hammered out a 23-7 win over the Bucs.  6 sacks and 2 interceptions proved just 2 much for Tampa Bay to overcome. They could only manage 3 third-down conversions all day.

The victory would bring the Saints to a 7-0 record midway through the 1991 season. Jim Mora and his team would finish the season 11-5 and the NFC Western Division Champs.

Buck, who had been a 2nd-round pick out of Ohio Central State in 1990, stayed with the Saints until 1995.

Career Defensive Statistics

Year Age Pos Interceptions Yds TD Longest Fumbles
Sacks Tackles
1990 22 PR 2 38
1991 23 LCB/PR 5 12 0 12 3 45
1992 24 lcb 2 51 1 34 0.5 349
1993 25 LCB 2 28 0 28 2 3.0 73
1994 26 FS 1 0 0 0 1 1.0 88
1995 27 FS 4 66
Career 10 91 1 34 12 4.5 344

Dalton Hilliard, New Orleans Saints | An Image Gallery

Dalton Hilliard 1989

Dalton Hilliard, Runningback 1986-1993

Rich Mauti | 1978 New Orleans Saints

Featured Image for New Orleans Saints Special Teams Player Rich Mauti in 1978
  • Rich Mauti TD Catch in 1978 Game Against the Browns
    TD Catch against Cleveland in 1978
  • New Orleans Special Teams Ace Rich Mauti making a tackle in 1978 against the Browns
    Making a Special Teams Tackle

Special Teams Ace Rich Mauti

A couple of pictures of Rich Mauti, a Penn State graduate who joined the Saints in 1977. Mauti excelled as special teams player making the Pro Bowl as a kick returner in 1980. He actually set an NFL record of 27 solo tackles on kick and punt returns in 1978.
Pictured above, from the 1978 regular season game against Cleveland, Mauti caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Archie Manning – 1 of the 2 he had that year. In the other picture he zeroes in on Browns returner Keith Wright.

His son, Michael Mauti also played for the Saints and like his father, excelled on special teams. In 2015 Michael returned a blocked punt for a score against the Falcons on a Thursday Night Prime Time game.

Division Leaders Showdown | Saints & Broncos 1979

The New Orleans Saints Defense stops Otis Armstrong of the Denver Broncos in 1979
The New Orleans Saints Defense stops Otis Armstrong of the Denver Broncos in 1979
Saints Defense and Broncos Offense in 1979

New Orleans Saints and the Denver Broncos in 1979

Another picture from the Saints archives of that elusive 1979 NFL season. New Orleans travels to Mile High Stadium to do battle with the Denver Broncos that first week of November, 1979. What was notable about that game was that at the time both teams were in sole possession of 1st place in their respective divisions. Denver, at 7-3 in the AFC West, held a half game lead ahead of the Chargers. The NFC West Saints, who had just pulled off a huge upset the week before against the Washington Redskins, held a 5-4 record – 1 game over the LA Rams. The significance though was that it was the first time ever the New Orleans Saints had been atop their division this late into the season.

As they had done against the Redskins the week before the Saints defense brought a monumental effort to Mile High Stadium that game. They sacked the veteran Broncos quarterback, Craig Morton 3 times and picked him 3 times as well. On the other side of the ball though, the Saints offense couldn’t get on track either as both teams could produce only a single field goal apiece going into the 4th quarter. With the score tied at 3-3 Broncos All Pro receiver Rick Upchurch hauled in a 12-yard strike from Morton to give Denver the lead. Final score Denver 10 New Orleans 3.

Holding an opponent to but 10 points was rather uncharacteristic of Saints defenses of the time. But doing it to a potent offense like Denver’s was literally unheard of back then. Likewise, for the Saints offense to be held without a touchdown was unusual as well. But at the end of the day the offense just couldn’t get things going. The backfield combination of Chuck Muncie, Tony Galbreath and Mike Strachan‘s 119 rushing yards out did Archie Manning‘s 117 passing yards.

Above we see that Saint’s defense stepping up to shut down a Broncos running play. Broncos running back Otis Armstrong (#24) is met at the line-of-scrimmage by linebacker Kenny Bordelon (#50) while lineman Barry Bennett (#63) assists. Mike Fultz (#72) holds his ground against Bronco lineman Paul Howard (#60). Tight End Riley Odoms (#88) is at the right side of the line and Quarterback Craig Morton (#7) looks on. Saints Free Safety Tommy Myers (#37) is in the far left background.