Saints Pivotal Moments
1983 Bears: Overtime Field Goal Wins
A native of Denmark, Morten Andersen came to Indianapolis IN as a foreign exchange student for his senior year of high school. Weaned on soccer, he did so well as a left-footed kicker at Ben Davis High School that he earned a scholarship to Michigan State.
His college career included a 63y field goal that was the longest in Big Ten Conference histo­ry at that time. He was named an All-American in 1981. The Saints selected him in the fourth round of the 1982 draft.
Saints fans were understandably skeptical when he was drafted - leery because of the Russell Erxleben debacle.
Andersen's NFL career started badly when he sprained his ankle trying to avoid a Cardinals blocker in his first regular season game. As a result, he attempted only three field goals in the strike-shortened 1982 season, making one.
He became the Saints #1 kicker at the beginning of the 1983 season and remained in that role through 1994 on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Chicago Bears came to the Superdome for the third game of the'83 season with both teams sporting 1-1 records.
Duckett Sparks Saints
Each team scored a touchdown in the first quarter, and both kicked a field goal in the second quarter to leave the field at halftime tied 10-10. The Saint touchdown drive started with an electrifying 54y kickoff return by WR Kenny Duckett, a second-year wide receiver from Wake Forest. He would also catch five passes for 53y and run two more kickoffs back for an addi­tional 89y. Coach Bum Phillips asked afterward, "I wonder what he would have done if he was healthy."
The Saints came out of the locker room roaring. They jumped ahead with two touchdowns on passes from Ken Stabler to TE Hoby Brenner for 15y and Duckett for 25y. Brenner's TD came on a "circus catch."

L-R: Morten Andersen, Kenny Duckett, Ken Stabler, Hoby Brenner
Saints New Defense Thwarts Bears
The Saints surprised the visitors with a new defensive alignment that featured five men up front. "We call it the Silver defense," NG Tony Elliott said. "It's designed to keep away from double team blocks." The Saints would get a team record eight sacks of QB Jim McMahon for a total of 73y, another record.
But the Bears adjusted and responded with two touchdowns to tie the score at 24 early in the fourth quarter. The second score came on a perfectly executed draw play to incomparable HB Walter Payton, who twisted and turned through the defense for 49y.
Payton was also involved in the tying touchdown, though in a different capacity. He took a handoff and started to sweep left end. Then he pulled up and fired a perfect strike to WR Wil­lie Gault, running free behind DB Johnnie Poe, for 56y touchdown.
Poe said, "I knew it was coming, but I lost sight of the ball when I turned around. I felt like the goat on that one."

L-R: Tony Elliott, Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, Johnnie Poe
Poe Redeems Himself
The Bears got the ball back after the Saints went three-and-out. Poe went from goat to hero when he intercepted a hurried pass by QB Vince Evans and returned it 31y to paydirt to put the Saints ahead 31-24 with 3:35 left in the game. Evans had replaced McMahon when the starter left the game in the third quarter with a strained neck muscle.
"Johnnie had an unusual day," Phillips said. "He got one for them and one for us."
Payton had one more trick up his sleeve. The Bears took the ensuing kickoff and drove from their 20 to a first down on the Saints 21. Payton started sweeping right this time, then pulled up and looked for Evans back to the left. But with the quarterback covered, Walter spotted Gault all by himself near the endline of the end zone. The touchdown and extra point tied the game once again with 1:40 left.
Neither team could do anything with their remaining possession, and the game went into overtime. The Saints were 0-3 in overtime in their history.

L-R: Vince Evans, Willie Gault, Whitney Paul, Wayne Wilson
Saints Stop Bears' OT Possession
The Bears had all the momentum heading into the extra period. In their last seven posses­sions, the Saints had as many turnovers as first downs–two each. They had gained a total of just 22y on their last 22 plays.
Stabler: "We probably got a little conservative at the end of the third quarter and kept our defense on the field too long. And you keep them out there long enough, they're going to get a little tired ..."
The Bears won the overtime coin toss and took the ball. LB Whitney Paul stopped Payton for no gain on third-and-one to force a punt.
Stabler threw an interception on the Saints' possession, but a 2y third-down pass to Pay­ton fell 4y short at the NO 42. So the Bears punted and downed the ball on the two to give the Saints their worst field position of the day. It looked like their best chance was to gain enough first downs to run out the clock and settle for a tie.
Stabler Leads Winning Drive
With George Rogers not available for 1983 the game, the Saints' rushing game had strug­gled, gaining just 84y on 28 attempts. So despite the terrible field position, Stabler came out throwing.
He found Brenner for 12y. One play later, "Snake" hit Duckett for 13. With the stunting Bears thinking pass, Wayne Wilson got nine on a draw play. Then Stabler tossed a quick screen to Duckett for 4y and a first down at the NO 41.
WR Lindsay Scott snagged a pass for 7y to set the stage for the drive's biggest play. Wil­son took the ball on another draw and burned the Bears' blitz when he ran wide left for 20y to the Chicago 32–within Andersen's field goal range.
Stabler handed to Wilson three straight times for a total gain of 8y to bring on Andersen.
A First for Andersen
Morten Andersen had never been called on to kick a winning field goal before–not in high school, not in college, and not in two seasons in the NFL.
"Last year, I think I would have crawled out there," he said. "It was my first chance to win a game. Everybody told me I was going to make it. That was a great feeling."
Kicking from the Chicago 41, Anderson knew it was good as soon as he hit it.
Holder Guido Merkens knew it too. "When Morten hit it, I knew the game was over," he said.
Bum Phillips knew it also. "There was no doubt."
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