Photo Essays  


Published: March 2, 2012 at 12:30 p.m.
Updated: March 2, 2012 at 06:37 p.m.

Most dominating single-game NFL performances

Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points 50 years ago, easily one of the most-dominating performances in sports history. With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the NFL's best single-game performances.

24 Photos Total

  • Ernie Nevers 24

    Pro Football Hall of Fame

    Ernie Nevers

    Ernie Nevers scored every point in the Chicago Cardinals 40-6 romp over the cross-town Bears in 1929. Nevers scored six touchdowns and four extra points to set the longest standing record in NFL history.

  • Don Hutson 23

    Robert Walsh/Associated Press

    Don Hutson

    Packers WR Don Hutson has held records that have stood the test of time, but one of the most amazing is when he scored 29 points in one quarter (four touchdowns, five PATs) on Oct. 7, 1945.

  • Cloyce Box 22

    National Football League

    Cloyce Box

    Passing was in its early stages in the NFL in the 1950s, but Lions WR Cloyce Box had 12 receptions for 302 yards and four touchdowns against the Baltimore Colts (not those Colts) on Dec. 3, 1950.

  • Norm Van Brocklin 21

    Associated Press

    Norm Van Brocklin

    The high-flying Los Angeles Rams were led by QB Norm Van Brocklin who set a still-standing NFL record with 554 passing yards and five touchdowns against the New York Yanks on Sept. 28, 1951.

  • Jim Brown 20

    Associated Press

    Jim Brown

    Browns RB Jim Brown wasted little time establishing himself as a dominant running back when he set an NFL record with 273 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Rams in his rookie season, 1957.

  • Gale Sayers 19

    National Football League

    Gale Sayers

    Bears RB Gale Sayers had another dominating rookie performance when he amassed 336 total yards and six touchdowns on just 14 touches against the 49ers on Dec. 12, 1965.

  • Joe Namath 18

    Associated Press

    Joe Namath

    Jets QB Joe Namath again made the Baltimore Colts look foolish, this time on Sept. 24, 1972 when he threw for 496 yards and six touchdowns.

  • O.J. Simpson 17

    Associated Press

    O.J. Simpson

    Bills RB O.J. Simpson broke his own single-game rushing record when he put up 273 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions on Nov. 25, 1976. Simpson followed that game up with 203 rushing yards the following week against the Dolphins.

  • Walter Payton 16

    Fred Jewell/Associated Press

    Walter Payton

    Bears RB Walter Payton broke Simpson's single-game mark with 275 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Vikings on Nov. 20, 1977. Payton had two 200-yard rushing performances in the span of 30 days, previously going for 205 yards against the Packers.

  • Kellen Winslow 15

    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Kellen Winslow

    Chargers TE Kellen Winslow had 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins in the 1981 divisional round of the playoffs. He also blocked a field goal at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.

  • Dan Marino 14

    Paul Spinelli/Associated Press

    Dan Marino

    Dolphins QB Dan Marino topped 400 passing yards a league-record 13 times (nearly double his closest competitors), perhaps his most dominating performance came on Dec. 14, 1986 when he threw for 403 yards and five touchdowns to beat the Los Angeles Rams.

  • Flipper Anderson 13

    National Football League

    Flipper Anderson

    WR Flipper Anderson set the NFL record when he gained 336 receiving yards and scored a touchdown in the Los Angeles Rams' overtime win over the Saints on Nov. 26, 1989.

  • Joe Montana 12

    Tom DiPace/Associated Press

    Joe Montana

    Months after winning the Super Bowl MVP award 49ers QB Joe Montana threw for 476 yards and six touchdowns to beat the Falcons on Oct. 14, 1990.

  • Frank Reich 11

    John Hickey/Associated Press

    Frank Reich

    QB Frank Reich threw four second-half touchdowns as the Bills rallied from a 32-point deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in the first round of 1992 AFC playoffs on Jan. 3, 1993.

  • Emmitt Smith 10

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Emmitt Smith

    RB Emmitt Smith suffered a separated shoulder against the Giants in the final week of the 1993 season, but had 229 total yards and a touchdown to lead the Cowboys to a 16-13 win to clinch the NFC East and home-field advantage en route to back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

  • Steve Young 9

    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Steve Young

    49ers QB Steve Young played for years in Joe Montana's shadow but got the monkey off his pack by throwing six touchdowns against the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.

  • Jerry Rice 8

    Al Golub/Associated Press

    Jerry Rice

    49ers WR Jerry Rice topped 250 receiving yards only once, and he did it on Dec. 18, 1995 when he caught 14 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings.

  • Boomer Esiason 7

    Doug Mills/Associated Press

    Boomer Esiason

    Cardinals QB Boomer Esiason challenged Van Brocklin's record when he threw for 522 yards and three touchdowns against the Redskins on Nov. 10, 1996.

  • Jimmy Smith 6

    G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press

    Jimmy Smith

    Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith came the closet to Anderson's single-game receiving record in recent years when he had 15 receptions for 291 yards and three touchdowns against the Ravens on Sept. 10, 2000.

  • Mike Anderson 5

    Andrew J. Cohoon/Associated Press

    Mike Anderson

    Broncos RB Mike Anderson made a splash during his rookie season when he rushed for 251 yards and four touchdowns against the Saints on December 3, 2000.

  • Jamal Lewis 4

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Jamal Lewis

    Ravens RB Jamal Lewis broke Corey Dillon's single-game rushing record when he victimized the Browns for 295 rushing yards and two touchdowns on Sept. 14, 2003.

  • Adrian Peterson 3

    Tom Olmscheid/Associated Press

    Adrian Peterson

    Vikings RB Adrian Peterson set the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards and three touchdowns against the Chargers on Nov. 4 2007. Peterson also set an NFL record for rushing yards in a half with 253 rushing yards in the second half.

  • Tom Brady 2

    Associated Press

    Tom Brady

    Patriots QB Tom Brady set an NFL record with five touchdowns passes in the second quarter against the Titans on Oct. 18, 2009, and finished the game with 380 yards and six touchdowns. He didn't play after the first series of the second half.

  • Kurt Warner 1

    Paul Jasienski/Associated Press

    Kurt Warner

    Cardinals QB Kurt Warner had more touchdowns than incomplete passes when he went 29-for-33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Cardinals over the Packers in the first round of the 2009 NFC playoffs.