Then, in 2000 in a playoff game against the Rams, St. Louis punt returner Az-Zahir Hakim fumbled a punt that was recovered by special teams performer Brian Milne, which enabled the Saints to get their first playoff victory, 26-21.
In 2009, Saints quarterback Brees threw an interception to Redskins safety Devin Thomas, but wide receiver Robert Meachem stripped the ball on the return and brought it 44 yards into the end zone to tie the score. The Saints won the game in overtime, 33-30.
Then, in Super Bowl XLIV. leading 24-17 and trying to stop the Colts offense, cornerback Tracy Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and raced 74 yards for a touchdown that gave the Saints a 31-17 lead, delivering them their first Super Bowl title in club history.
This season, we have seen two other significant moments.
Playing on Halloween night against the Steelers, the Saints defensive front made three consecutive stops from their own half-yard line, forcing the Steelers to settle for a 19-yard field goal.
That defensive stop against one of the best rushing units in the NFL shifted momentum back to the Saints, lifting the Saints To a 20-19 victory.
And, then on Thanksgiving Day, the Saints took a 17-0 lead over the Cowboys in the Cowboys new billion-dollar stadium, but the Cowboys fought back and took a 27-23 lead late in the fourth quarter.
That is when safety Malcolm Jenkins may have made the play that saved the season for the Saints. With Dallas wide receiver Roy Williams racing toward the end zone for a game-clinching touchdown, Jenkins striped the ball away from Williams and gave Brees and the Saints offense another chance to win the game.
That’s exactly what Brees and wide receivers Meachem and Lance Moore did late to give the Saints a 30-27 victory, Had Williams fallen down after making the catch, Dallas probably would have run out time and won the game. That's how close it was.
Like former NFL Films narrator John Facenda would say. "Great teams don't always play great, but they play great when they have to."
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