The New Orleans Saints began play in 1967 and had a rough go of it for the first few years. To be honest, they had a rough go of it for the first couple of decades or so. They didn’t put up their first winning season until 1987.
The early 1970’s were particularly tough, with the team putting up win-loss records like 2-11-1, 4-8-2, and 2-12. They had a great quarterback in Archie Manning, but they often didn’t have a lot of other talent around him. This was particularly true at the position of running back.
The futility of Saints rushing can be seen in one game in particular from that era.
On Sunday, October 1st, 1972 at Tulane Stadium, the Saints were hosting the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers won the game, and would have had a shutout if it hadn’t been for New Orleans blocking one of their punts and having it go out of the end zone for a safety. The final score of the game was 37-2.
New Orleans’ rushing stats for that game were 16 carries for 7 yards. Archie Manning carried the ball one time for 11 yards, making him the team’s leading rusher for the game. Other players carring the ball that day included Joe Williams (1 carry for -2 yards), Virgil Robinson (4 carries for -4 yards), and Bob Gresham (10 carries for 2 yards).
It was not the best game the Saints played all the way around, but the rushing performance in particular was abysmal, and was also the worst rushing day in New Orleans Saints history.