Division Leaders Showdown | Saints & Broncos 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.