The top five
1. Sept. 25, 2006: Saints 23, Falcons 3
Could there be any doubt? The Saints’ return to the rebuilt Superdome following Katrina was as emotional a moment as any ever seen in the building. Steve Gleason’s blocked punt is immortalized forever with a statue outside the Dome. The Falcons were three-and-out on that series and had only 229 yards in a game dominated by the Saints defense.
2. Nov. 30, 2009: Saints 38, Patriots 17
En route to the Super Bowl, this was the Saints’ most impressive showing. Drew Brees attempted only 23 passes, but he completed 18 for 375 yards and five touchdowns to five different receivers. It added up to a perfect QB rating of 158.3 — the only one he has managed in his career. Tom Brady threw for 237 yards but was intercepted twice.
3. Dec. 31, 1990: Saints 20, Rams 17
Morten Andersen’s 24-yard yard field goal as time expired lifted the Saints to a victory that earned them a wildcard playoff berth despite an 8-8 record. The game was mostly one of offensive futility for the Saints: They managed 268 yards, and Andersen missed two of three field-goal attempts before the winning kick. The Saints lost to the Bears the following week.
4. Dec. 16, 1991: Saints 27, Raiders 0
The Dome Patrol Saints reached their peak in this one, holding the visiting Raiders to six first downs and 147 yards. Bobby Hebert threw for 320 yards, and Brett Maxie capped the night with a 31-yard interception return for a TD. The Saints finished 11-5, won the NFC West and led the league in total defense before losing to Atlanta in the playoffs.
5. Dec. 10, 2007: Saints 31, Falcons 14
The Saints were winless in four previous “MNF” road games, so this dominant performance at the Georgia Dome was as good of a place as any to start. Drew Brees was 28-of-41 for 328 yards and three TDs as the team bounced back from a home loss to Tampa Bay. The victory kept the Saints in the playoff race, but they lost their last two to finish 7-9.
The bottom five
1. Dec. 3, 1979: Raiders 42, Saints 35
Leading 35-14 in the third quarter, the Saints, in playoff contention for the first time ever, looked headed for a commanding victory. But Kenny Stabler threw three TD passes in the fourth quarter for a stunning Raiders comeback. Four years later, the Jets scored 17 fourth-quarter points in a 31-28 “MNF” victory over the Saints. Take your pick: Which was worse?
2. Dec. 2, 2013: Seahawks 34, Saints 7
In one of the season’s most-anticipated games, the 10-1 Seahawks made quick work of the visiting 9-2 Saints, getting an early fumble return for a TD by Michael Bennett and 310 passing yards and three touchdowns from Russell Wilson. Drew Brees’ 147 passing yards are the fewest he has had as a Saint (except for a cameo appearance vs. Carolina in the 2006 finale).
3. Dec. 7, 2001: Rams 34, Saints 21
“MNF” hadn’t come to New Orleans in seven years, so it was a big event, especially since the Saints had earned their first playoff victory the season before by beating the Rams. But using what Saints coach Jim Haslett called “bull crap” plays, Kurt Warner threw for four touchdowns as his team took control of the NFC West.
4. Nov. 22, 1993: 49ers 42, Saints 7
San Francisco’s players declared they wanted to send a message after losing 16-13 in New Orleans earlier in the season. They did so by annihilating the visitors, who came into the game tied with the 49ers for the NFC West lead. The Saints finished 8-8 and never reached .500 again under Jim Mora.
5. Nov. 24, 1980: Rams 27, Saints 7
On the eve of the “No Mas” fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran in the Superdome, the winless Saints did their own version, netting only 159 yards. The next morning, coach Dick Nolan was fired, with Dick Stanfel replacing him for the rest of the season. The Saints finished 1-15, the worst record in franchise history.