Saints/Falcons Flashback: “Big Ben Right”
The New Orleans Saints return to action on Sunday afternoon, when they travel to Atlanta, Georgia to take on the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in the 2016 regular season finale for both teams.
Kickoff time is scheduled for 3:25 pm, and you can hear all the play-by-play action on EPSN 1420, as well as 97.3 The Dawg.
The Saints are 7-8 on the season, and out of playoff contention, while the Falcons will enter the playoffs as NFC South Division champions, with a record of 10-5.
The rivalry between New Orleans and Atlanta has been one of the best in the NFL since the Saints joined the league back in 1967, with the Falcons being born just two years prior.
The two franchises have been division rivals, as part of either the NFC West or the NFC South, since 1970.
The Saints began in the Capitol Division in 1967, before playing one year in the Century Division in 1968, back to the Capitol Division in 1969, and then the NFC West in 1970, while the Falcons were members of the Coastal Division prior to joing the NFC West in 1970.
The Falcons lead the all-time series, 50-45, including a 45-32 win over New Orleans in the first meeting this year, but the Saints won both meetings last season, and have also won 8 of the last 12 match-ups, as well as 11 of the last 16.
All week long, in anticipation of the Sunday’s New Year’s day affair, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the more memorable games between the two franchises.
On Monday, we went back to November 26, 1967, for the very first game ever played between the two teams, a 27-24 Saints victory.
On Tuesday, went back to September 16, 1973, for the most lopsided loss in Saints’ history, a 62-7 win by the Falcons at Tulane Stadium.
Today, we go back to Sunday, November 12, 1978, for the “Big Ben” game, where the Falcons defeated the Saints, 20-17, on an incredible final play of the game.
The Saints went into the game with a 5-5 record, while the Falcons, who had won four-straight, was 6-4.
Leading, 17-13, late in the fourth quarter, the Saints couldn’t put the game away, and were forced to punt, giving the Falcons only :19 to go 57 yards.
Atlanta was down 17 -13 with only seconds left in the game. The Falcons lined up with receivers Wallace Francis, Alfred Jenkins and Alfred Jackson off to the right, and then quarterback Steve Bartkowski threw it up for grabs. Francis tipped the ball to Jackson, who proceeded to run into the end zone for the game-winning score, giving them an eventual 20-17 win, and leaving the 72,000 fans at the Superdome in total shock.
The play became known as “Big Ben”.
New Orleans finished 1978 with an overall record of 7-9, including to excruciating losses to Atlanta, who went 9-7, and advanced to the NFC Divisional Playoffs.
The infamous Falcons “Big Ben Right” play is below: