Saints Pivotal Moments
1982 @Bears: Shutout before Strike Hits
The Friday before the second game of the season against Chicago, the Saints traded QB Archie Manning to Houston, Coach Bum Phillips' former team, for All-Pro offensive tackle Leon Gray. However, Gray would not play against the Bears because he needed time to work himself into shape after holding out on the Oilers.
The Saints lost their opening game against the St. Louis Cardinals 21-7 while first-year coach Mike Ditka's Bears fell to the Lions 17-10.
With RB George Rogers out with a pulled hamstring, the Saints offense would fall upon QB Kenny Stabler, in his first year with the club after being released by the Oilers following the 1981 season. When Stabler came to New Orleans, the Saints traded Archie Manning to Houston.
On the defensive side, the Saints signed LB Ed Simonini after his release from the Balti­more Colts, and he played immediately against the Cardinals in Week 1. But he admitted he was still learning the Saints' 3-4 system.
Ditka hinted that all three of his quarterbacks, Bob Avellini, Vince Evans, and Jim McMa­hon, might play.
The weekend's games would all be played under the threat of a strike by the NFL Players Association, which was at an impasse with the owners on a new collective bargaining agree­ment.
Stabler Leads Touchdown Drive
The Saints' offense was simple but effective and almost mistake-free. They passed to keep the Bears honest but did their best work on the ground. Meanwhile, the gang-tackling defense was smothering and aggressive. First, it denied Chicago the run. Then it put pressure on the passer and made any receiver unfortunate enough to get his hands on a pass pay a heavy price.
The Saints started their first possession with only RB Wayne Wilson in the backfield be­hind Stabler and two tight ends on the line of scrimmage. It caught the Bears defense off guard. "They use a whole bunch of sets," said C John Hill, "and they predicate what side they move in certain formations by the tight end. I'm sure it gave them some concern."
The Saints marched downfield on a 10-play, six-first down opening drive to a touchdown. Wilson carried seven times for 44y, and Stabler went five-for-five, the biggest completion being a 31y strike to Kenny Duckett to the 10 that got the Saints out of a second-and-20 hole dug by a holding call on G Louis Oubre. One play later, Stabler hit TE Larry Hardy for the touchdown. Toni Fritsch booted the extra point. Saints 7 Bears 0
"They were doubling our outside guys," said Stabler. "That calls for a linebacker to cover the tight end. It was the right play at the right time. That drive set the tempo."
No one knew it at the time, but the Saints had already won the game.

Saints converge on Walter Payton. 51 is LB Whitney Paul. 56 is LB Dirt Winston. 25 is CB Johnnie Poe.
Saints Defense Stifles Bears
In the second quarter, Ditka tried to put a charge in his stagnant offense by substituting Vince Evans for starting QB Bob Avellini. But the Bears' only serious scoring threat of the first half was provided by DB Jeff Fisher when he intercepted Stabler at the NO 43. The Bears moved to the 24, but SS Russell Gary sacked Evans for a 12y loss that put them out of field goal range.
At halftime, Coach Ditka threw his chalk at the blackboard in the Bears locker room and announced Jim McMahon would be his third quarterback.

L-R: Wayne Wilson, Larry Hardy, Kenny Duckett, Dirt Winston
Winston Stops Bear Threat
With McMahon at quarterback, the Bears moved across midfield on their second possession of the second half. They zipped from their 11 to the NO 38 on three straight completions. But LB Dirt Winston made the biggest defensive play of the game on the next snap, dropping 25y downfield to snag McMahon's pass on the 15.
"I just read the receiver coming across in a flood situation," said Winston. "I was just sitting back there. I knew he was going to throw it because he was scrambling. I think if I wouldn't have made the interception, the receiver would have had the ball."
Inspired, the Saints' offense drove 62y in eight plays to set up Frisch's 40y field goal to ex­tend the lead to 10-0 with 2:34 left the third quarter.
The Bears never threatened the rest of the game as the Saints held them to just one first down the rest of the game. The Saints' offense also helped drive the final nail in Chicago's coffin by knocking off five minutes on the clock with a 12-play drive from their six to the Bears 38. By the time the home team got the ball back, there was only 1:46 left, not nearly enough time for an offense that gained only 183y compared to NO's 317.
As the game ended, Bears fans chanted "Strike! Strike! Strike!" They would get their wish.
It was the Saints' first shutout since 1976, its fourth overall and first-ever on the road in the 16th year of the franchise.
Coach Phillips: "I was real pleased with the character this football team showed with all the talk about the strike and the ... difficulty we had this week with the trade. We had a lot of dis­tractions last week. But they put that behind them. They didn't worry about tomorrow. They worried about today."
Coach Ditka took the blame for the humiliating defeat. "If the offense doesn't score points, it's my fault. We went to the basics, and it didn't work. I've been around 42 years and played a lot of games and a lot of sports. I've never been humilitated like this. I can understand the fans' hurt. But nobody agonized more than me."
Big Mike added, "Actually the defense played well, but they can't be on the field all the time." The Saints controlled the ball for 37:51 to the Bears' 21:09.
"Maybe a strike is what's on the players' minds. If it is, woe be to them. I believe some don't take it (the game) seriously enough. When you're supposed to pass block, and you don't get there on time, or you run the wrong pattern, your head isn't in the game. It takes total com­mitment. We have guys who haven't totally committed to what we're doing."
The players did indeed strike after the completion of Week 2's games. As a result, games in the upcoming weeks were canceled until a settlement was reached. Play resumed in Week 11 and only one additional week of games was added to the schedule.