Doug Atkins & Friends Close in on Tom Matte

Early Saints Action from 1967. Big Doug Atkins along with other New Orleans Saints defenders move in on Colts runner Tom Matte.

 Some old school action from the 1967 NFL season as the newly formed New Orleans Saints take on NFL powerhouse Baltimore. The Colts were riding high in 1st place of the NFL Coastal Division touting an 11-0-2 record while trying to keep the LA Rams, just 1 game behind at 10-1-2, at bay for the NFL Coastal Division title. The Saints meanwhile, weren’t doing quite as good. They only had a couple victories to show (wins over the Eagles & Falcons) but the 2 wins had come in the last 5 outings so for the first-year Saints it was at least definitely something to think positive about.

 If the Saints had any hope they would catch the dominant Colts napping or looking forward to postseason, they were quickly put to rest as Baltimore built up a 17-0 halftime lead and never let up. By the start of the 4th quarter they were ahead by a score of 20-10 and ended up with a 30-10 Colts victory.

 Highlights for the Saints were few. Gary Cuozzo started at quarterback completed 18 of 34 passes and threw for 214 yards. Unfortunately he threw 3 interceptions, no scores and was sacked 3 times. But, believe it or not, other than his 3 picks, his numbers were actually better the great Johnny Unitas that day.  The Saints only scoring came from a Charlie Durkee fieldgoal and a Charlie Brown 5-yard touchdown run. Of the Saints receivers, fullback Randy Shultz came up with 6 catches for 92 yards while end Ray Poage had 5 grabs for 68 yards. Saints star rookie Danny Abramowicz had 2 catches. The running game did next to nothing against the Colts defense gaining but 73 yards and averaging less than 3 yards carry. The great Jim Taylor had only 10 yards. About the only plus for the Saints that day was that safety Dave Whitsell made his 10th interception and would end up leading the league in interceptions for 1967. By the way, that 10 picks in a single season is still a Saints franchise record.

 The following week was the 14th and final week of the 1967 season. Our Saints actually ended the year on a good note. With Billy Kilmer starting and throwing a pair of touchdowns the New Orleans Saints downed the Washington Redskins by a 30-14 margin.

 The Colts, on the other hand, ended their season in Los Angeles being completely dominated by the Rams. Losing 34-10 it put the Rams and Colts tied for 1st place in the NFL Coastal Division but since the Rams beat the Colts it gave LA the title and the trip to the playoffs. Baltimore, with  11 wins, 1 loss and 2 ties was awarded 2nd place and no post season appearance. There were no wildcard playoff teams at that time.

 In the picture above Colts runner Tom Matte works his way through the Saints defense with Hall of Famer Doug Atkins (#81) in pursuit as linebacker Fred Whittingham (#59) comes in on Matte’s left. Former Colt Ted Davis (#35) can be seen in the background.

Phil
Phil

I've been following the Saints since a kid in the 70s watching the likes of Archie Manning and Tommy Myers.
We may not have as grandiose a history as some NFL teams, but there are scores of memories the New Orleans Saints have given to their fans and I have done my best to record them here at New Orleans Saints History.

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