Saints Pivotal Moments
Bengals 1978: Strachan's Run, Leypoldt's Pool Shot
After exciting their fans with a victory over Minnesota in Dick Nolan's debut as head coach, the '78 Saints lost to the Packers 28-17 and the Eagles 24-17. One writer called the next game against the Cincinnati Bengals a "crossroads" for the Saints. Win and even the record at 2-2. Lose and fall to 1-3, and fans say, "Here we go again."
Despite being 0-3, the Bengals of third-year coach Bill Johnson were seven-point favorites on their home turf.
The only score in the first period came on Chris Bahr's 20y field goal. Bengals 3-0
The second quarter was filled with action. Mike Strachan, starting in place of injured RB Chuck Muncie, scored on a 5y run to put the Saints ahead 7-3. But Cincy answered with a 12y pass from QB John Reaves to Don Bass. Bengals 10-7
Bahr's 22y field goal extended the lead to 13-7 before the Saints got a field goal of their own from newly-signed K John Leypoldt, a 27-yarder. 13-10 Bengals at the half

Wes Chandler runs after snagging a pass.
With QB Archie Manning under a heavy rush all day, the Saints failed to score in the third quarter. Fortunately, the Bengals didn't change the scoreboard either.
Cincinnati did extend their lead early in the final period on Bahr's 42y field goal and a safety, when Mark Meseroll's snap sailed over the head of P Tom Blanchard and rolled out of the end zone. 18-10 Bengals
Saints Offense Catches Fire
With less than seven minutes remaining and the Saints offense showing no life in the second half, it looked like the Bengals were on their way to their first victory of the season. With the two-point conversion far in the future (1994) in the NFL, the Saints needed two scores to win.
Manning hit WR Tinker Owens for 18y and then TE Henry Childs, who split DBs Dick Juron and Marvin Cobb and caught the ball over his shoulder for a 49y gain to the Bengal 7. "I was supposed to be running a hook," explained Childs, "but I read a slide coverage and turned it upfield like we're supposed to. The defensive backs had pretty good coverage, but Archie put it right over my head. I guess they didn't notice when I looked up for the ball. ... It just fell right into my arms."
On third-and-goal from the 5, Strachan ran around the right side behind the blocking of FB Tony Galbreath and G Robert Woods to the end zone. Leypoldt's PAT made it Bengals 18 Saints 17.

L-R: Archie Manning, Mark Meseroll, Henry Childs, John Leypoldt
Chandler's Punt Return
The Saint defense did their part, forcing a three-and-out. WR Wes Chandler returned Pat McInally's line drive punt 32y to midfield with 2:14 on the clock. Wes was one tackler away from taking it all the way.
Manning's 8y scramble and Strachan's 7y run made it first-and-10 at the 34. The Saints were already in range for a field goal but had time to get closer for their new kicker.
Galbreath got nothing up the middle and just 3y on a draw to make it 3rd-and-7. That's when the Manning-Childs combination struck again. Under a heavy blitz, Archie flipped the ball to Henry for a first down on the 11 with 41 seconds left. "I saw that they were blitzing," Childs said. "Then I broke the play off a little short. I was supposed to go down about 15, but I came back because of the blitz."
After two running plays gained nothing, the Saints used their final timeout with just three seconds to play. That brought out Leypoldt to attempt the winning field goal.
Leypoldt's Winning Kick
Leypoldt kicked for Buffalo for five years (1971-75) and Seattle for two more before being cut prior to the '78 season. He was running the family pool room in upstate New York when Saints K Rich Szaro went down with pulled groin and stomach muscles.
"I had tryouts with Dallas after Seattle cut me and New England," said Leypoldt. "They all went with younger kickers. I didn't think I'd wind up in New Orleans."
The Saints almost didn't sign him. They lined up a tryout with another young kicker, but he pulled a muscle going onto the Saints practice field.
After botching the punt snap that produced the safety, Meseroll needed to make a good snap. "Everyone on the sidelines was great about the whole thing," he said. "They just kept telling me, 'Don't worry about it. We'll get it back. Stay calm. You'll get another chance.'"
Fittingly, Leypoldt's winning kick was a bank shot off the left upright and through the goal posts as time ran out. FINAL SCORE: SAINTS 20 BENGALS 18
The '78 Saints now had two victories as underdogs and two losses as favorites.
"During game week, I never kick more than 60 balls," said Leypoldt. "This week I must have hit close to 200. It was necessary because I had to get accustomed to the snapper and holder. I was really hitting the ball well. My main worry was wearing out my leg." He added, "I don't know what my status is now because Rich is still on the roster. I'll just have to wait and see."
Leypoldt would play one more game for the Saints in which he made two of three extra points and missed his only field goal attempt. But for one game, he was a hero.
Manning was encouraged by the victory. "I think this does show that we have some­thing. I think we played a good football team. They're 0-4, I know, but I was on the field. They played their hearts out out there."