Saints Pivotal Moments
1971 Raiders: Hargett to Parks Ties Game
The 5-1-1 Oakland Raiders came to New Orleans for a Week 8 matchup.
The Saints were having an up-and-down season. The campaign began with great fanfare. QB Archie Manning, the #1 draft choice from Ole Miss who was born the year George Blanda started his pro career, led the Saints to an upset win over the Los Angeles Rams 24-20 in the opener. After two losses and a tie in the next three games, the Saints upset the defending NFC champion Cowboys 24-14. But two road losses followed to leave coach J. D. Roberts with a 2-4-1 record in his first full season.
Still, Oakland Coach John Madden told the press when he arrived in the Crescent City: "Here in Tulane Stadium, the Saints–inspired by their hometown rooters–upset the Rams and Cowboys. So we certainly can't afford to be complacent." Manning was nursing a pulled thigh muscle but was expected to play. Backup QB Edd Hargett, who played most of the previous game against the Redskins, was ready if needed.
The crowd of 83,102 that packed Tulane Stadium on a 61° afternoon watched a flag-filled contest in which 18 penalties were stepped off.
The Raiders led 7-0 in the second quarter when Archie was hit hard by several defenders while scrambling and came up groggy. He left the game with a bruised elbow and a ringing headache. Hargett did the signal-calling the rest of the way.
Leading 14-7, the visitors seemed to wrap up the game early in the final period when they scored their third touchdown, going 52y in nine plays.
L-R: John Madden, J. D. Roberts, Archie Manning, Edd Hargett
Hargett then started the longest drive–in minutes–of the day. The 70y march ended with RB Bob Gresham going over from the two to cut the lead in half with 3:09 to play.
Saints' hopes brightened when Bob Newland recovered a fumble on the kickoff return. But Hargett's fourth down pass was knocked down. That appeared to seal the game with a little over two minutes to play.
Needing just one first down to run out the clock, Oakland couldn't get it. On 3rd down, QB Daryle Lamonica was hit just after he threw the ball to TE Raymond Chester, who dropped it at the 40. Jerry Depoyster got off his best punt of the day, 56y to put the Saints on their 22 after a 7y return with 1:35 on the clock.
L-R: Bob Gresham, Bob Newland, Dave Parks, Virgil Robinson
With Oakland's star DB George Atkinson out with an injury, Hargett picked on his replacement, Tom Maxwell. After two incompletions, Edd hit Dave Parks over the middle for 20 to move the chains to the 42. When he threw again for Dave, Nemiah Wilson broke it up but was called for interference. 1st and 10 at the Oakland 49 with 1:09 left.
Three plays later, Hargett found Parks in the center of the field again for 21y and a 1st down at the 27. At that point, the Saints used its last timeout to stop the clock at 0:36. After an incompletion, Hargett hit WR Virgil Robinson at the 10, but the rookie from Grambling fumbled, and Tatum recovered to seemingly end the Saints' hopes. But the officials came to the rescue again. One called pass interference while another ruled the ball dead before the fumble. So the Saints refused the penalty and took the ball at the 10. From there, Hargett connected with Parks on an out pattern to the right and Dave ran into the end zone with eight seconds left. With no two-point conversion available, Charlie Durkee booted the tying point. Saints 21 Raiders 21
The Raiders threw one desperation pass that fell to the turf as time ran out.
Madden praised the Saints. "Last week, we came from behind to tie, and this week they came from behind to tie us. You have to give them credit. They're people you'll have to contend with in the future."