Saints Pivotal Moments
@Buccaneers 1978: Manning to Childs for Winner
With a record of 6-9 with one game to go, the 1978 Saints already had more victories than any other team in the 12-year history of the franchise. A victory over Tampa Bay in the final game would put icing on the cake.
QB Archie Manning was having the best season of his seven-year career. His QB Rating (as retroactively calculated) was 81.7, 13 points better than his best previous season. As a result, Archie made the Pro Bowl for the first time.
John McKay's third Buccaneer team since he left USC for the NFL was 5-10, their best record since they entered the league as an expansion franchise in 1976. The Bucs went 0-14 their first year and 2-12 the following season.
Doug Williams, the Tampa Bay quarterback, was playing for the first time since November 5 when his jaw was broken. His jaw was still wired shut. The former Grambling star revealed that, "Archie Manning was my idol when he played at Ole Miss. I still remember how upset I was when he played with his arm all messed up and couldn't do much in that 61-17 loss to LSU."

L: Doug Williams talks to Coach John McKay (in hat); M: Henry Childs; R: Coach Dick Nolan
The Saints also wanted revenge for the loss to Tampa Bay in 1977 that represented the Bucs' first NFL win. "It has come up this week," Manning assured. "It has come up."
Victory would not come easily for the Saints. Their 23rd-best NFL offense faced a Tampa Bay defense ranked first in the NFL on a yardage-allowed-per-play basis (4.02).
Saints Offense Struggles
The defenses prevailed in the first half, which ended 3-3. Steve Mike-Mayer kicked a 32y field goal for the Saints, and Neil O'Donoghue connected on a 47-yarder later in the first quarter. Right before Mike-Mayer's kick, Saints TE Henry Childs dropped a sure first down pass to kill a 55y drive. Childs would redeem himself later.
The Saints blew a chance to take the lead in the second quarter when CB Mike Washing­ton intercepted Manning's pass in the end zone. It was one of three turnovers that thwarted the Saints offense, which outgained the Bucs 421-177 and possessed the ball twice as long but could muster only 17 points.
Saints Coach Dick Nolan on the Washington pick: "That one hurt. We moved the ball good in the first half but just couldn't score."
Muncie Sweeps into End Zone
The Bucs took advantage of a turnover to tie the game early in the final period. LILB Dew­ey Selmon tipped a Manning pass, and LOLB Dave Lewis intercepted at the 32 and re­turned it to the 25.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Bucs faced fourth-and-goal from the two. Wil­liams rolled right and hit TE Jimmie Giles for the Bucs' second touchdown in their last four games. Saints 10 Bucs 10

L-R: Dewey Selmon, Dave Lewis, Jimmie Giles, Larry Hardy
Saints Retake the Lead
Six plays later, the Saints retook the lead. Manning overcame two holding penalties by completing passes of 17y to Childs and 25y to the other tight end, Larry Hardy. On second down from the one, Archie faked a handoff to Tony Galbreath to freeze the linebackers, then tossed to Childs who took advantage of Washington cheating to the outside by running over the middle. Saints 17 Bucs 10 (10:56)
"It's a play we've run before," said Manning. "Remember the Giants' game when Henry was wide open? This time, I tried to make a good fake, and usually he's either wide open, or it's not there. This time it wasn't there, but still Henry got open."
Childs: "I line up on the right side, slam down like I'm blocking, release to the left. Archie's rolling the other way, and the flow is supposed to go after him. This time, though, the defen­sive back saw me coming across and started backpedaling ahead of me as I worked toward the left corner of the endzone. So I just stopped and curled it in."
Tampa never came close to scoring the rest of the way as the Saints defense held them to just 1:52 time of possession the rest of the way.
It was the fifth time the 1978 Saints had scored 17 points in a game, but the first one of the five that they won.
Coach Nolan: "We were running the ball well in the first half, and we didn't change anything in our basic strategy the second half."
Manning hit 25 of his 36 passes without being sacked. In the locker room, he sat puffing on a fat victory cigar. "My first one this year," said Archie. "Last year, I made the mistake of turning on the TV, and I saw Coach McKay light up one of these. So this is for him. ... Offensively, this is the most fun I've had in football. I've had my low moments, but I've never doubted myself. I have confidence. All a guy can do is enjoy the game and play to win. ... I had a lot of reasons for wanting to beat Tampa Bay. But there was no vendetta. I had no reason to be hacked off at them."
RB Chuck Muncie gained 68y on 11 carries. "It shouldn't have been as close as it was. A couple of bad plays was what got them their scores. ... We just outplayed them, and we're going to be outplaying a lot more people from now on."
S Tommy Myers expressed similar sentiments. "We should be 9-7 or 10-6. We should be in the playoffs, not Atlanta. When you look back on this season, those two games against Atlanta, the one against Pittsburgh, you realize we were just two minutes from being in the playoffs. Two minutes! That's why I hate to see it end. I'm already ready to come back ... and the season just ended."
Coach McKay, known for his sarcasm and wit, said, "When you don't tackle, it's a poor way to end anything. ... If the 23rd best-rated offense can run all over us, I'm amazed."
Watch the game: 1st half | 2nd half