Best Single Game Performance In NFL History


The NFL will have its 101st season played with the upcoming season and has seen many solid players, some superstars players, and of course the players that will be considered some of the best to ever step on a football field. One thing that fans have seen is a player finishing the game with an impressive stat line which is something any player could do if they really wanted to. Over the years people have seen games they will always remember because of the impressive play they witness, games that make people smile, and share how they witnessed it. Here are some of the most impressive and craziest stat lines a player has recorded in the 100 years of the NFL.

#8 Jimmy Smith

Getty Images

In a week 2 matchup the 1-0 Jacksonville Jaguars went on the road to take on the 1-0 Baltimore Ravens in a matchup where the winner remains undefeated. Nobody expected Smith to have over 120 receiving yards vs the Ravens just because they were one of the best defenses in the league and had Ed Reed leading the secondary. By the end of the first quarter, Smith had 4 receptions on 6 targets for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns which were the only by scored by the Jaguars in the quarter that alone was already impressive. Heading into halftime Smith already had 10 receptions on 14 targets for 194 receiving yards and scoring 2 touchdowns which were the only two scored by the Jaguars. Smith was hardly targeted in the third quarter as he was only targeted two times during the entire quarter, his lowest targeted quarter of the game.

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Although Smith only had a reception for 11 yards he still had an impressive game if he was to sit out the final quarter. In the fourth quarter, Smith would go on to have 4 receptions on 5 targets for 86 yards and a touchdown once again scoring the only touchdown for the Jaguars in the 4th quarter. 

Game Stats: 15 receptions, 291 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns(all of Jaguars touchdowns for the game)

#7 Jim Brown

NFL.com

During a week 9 matchup, the 6-1-1 Cleveland Browns traveled to Los Angeles to take on the 4-4 Rams who were in the mix for a playoff push who needed to win the game to keep playoff hopes alive. Brown was already having an impressive rookie season but what he did during this game vs the Rams was an exclamation point for how good he is going to be. Brown rushed for a 69-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give the Browns a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter. Brown had 97% of Cleveland’s carries after the first half of the game and was already over 100 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. Within 10 mins of the third quarter, Brown already had 3 rushing touchdowns as he scored on three consecutive drives for the and gave Cleveland a 38-28 lead. By the end of the game, Brown recorded 62% of Cleveland’s total yards and had 93% of Cleveland’s carries.

Game Stats: 31 carries, 237 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns, 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards

#6 Jerry Rice

Bleacher Report

The San Francisco 49ers headed into week 14 as one of the top teams in the league at 10-4 and looked to lock up a bye week for the playoffs as they took on the visiting 8-6 Minnesota Vikings. Rice had the best quarterback throwing him the ball as reigning MVP Steve Young was having another MVP caliber season but this game Rice showed why he was the MVP of the 49ers. At the end of the first quarter, Rice had 3 receptions on 3 targets for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns leading the 49ers in receiving yards while being targeted the lowest by Young. Heading into halftime Rice had already recorded a total of 7 receptions for 147 yards and a touchdown along with setting up San Francisco for a field goal before time expired. Rice didn’t get a reception into the halfway point into the third quarter as he caught a pass for 41 yards and was just 20 yards away from scoring another touchdown. Rice only caught 2 receptions on 4 targets but made every reception count as he had 93 receiving yards with those 2 catches. In the fourth quarter, Rice began to show he was gassed from all the running as he usually only ran short routes in the final quarter. It worked out for him as he had 5 receptions on 5 targets and had 49 receiving yards.

Game Stats: 14 receptions, 289 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns

#5 Tom Brady

USA TODAY

In a week 6 matchup the 0-5 Tennessee Titans traveled to 3-2 New England to take on the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady looked to thrive against the worst team in the league. That Patriots destroyed the Titans as they won 59-0 without even breaking a sweat although the Titans were one of the worst teams in the league Brady was able to do was quite impressive. At the end of the first quarter, Brady was a perfect 8-8 on pass completions and had 93 yards and could have possibly scored a touchdown but failed to convert on a 3rd-down. In the second quarter that’s when Brady did all his dirty work as he would go on to throw an impressive 5 touchdowns while going for 17-22 completion attempts for 253 yards. Heading into halftime the game was well over as the Patriots had a 45-0 lead over the Titans and Brady had a total of 346 yards while completing 24 of 30 pass attempts. With the game being over Brady only played one drive for the rest of the game but made it count as he finished it going 5-5 for 34 yards and 1 touchdown.

Game Stats: 29-34, 380 yards, and 6 touchdowns

#4 Joe Namath

Associated Press

On Sept. 24, 1972, the 0-1 Baltimore Colts hosted the 1-0 New York Jets in a matchup in a close battle that saw the Jets take home the 34-44 victory. Quarterback Joe Namath will go down as one of the Jets QB’s considered to be elite and proved it as he had one of the best games of his career vs the Colts. Namath got off to a quick start as he struck receiver Eddie Bell for a 65-yard touchdown to quickly put the Jets in the lead of 6-0. Unfortunately for the Jets Namath couldn’t do much as that was the only highlight of the quarter and score as the Colts defense held their weight for now. When the second-quarter hit that when Namath found his rhythm throwing for a 67-yard touchdown after the Jets defense gave up two consecutive scoring drives to the Colts. Then Namath hit Don Maynard for a 28-yard touchdown to tie things up with Baltimore 20-20 halfway through the second quarter. Shortly after Namath threw his fourth touchdown of the game as he threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Rich Caster giving New York a 27-20 lead. Heading into the fourth quarter it seemed to be a Jets victory although they were only up by a touchdown they had all the momentum on their side. Halfway into the quarter there was another touchdown to give the Jets a 10 point lead and would go on to throw another touchdown just a few moments later giving the Jets a 44-34 lead and a victory.

Game Stats: 15-28, 496 yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception

#3 Adrian Peterson

Associated Press

Heading into week 8 the 4-3 Minnesota Vikings hosted the 2-5 San Diego Chargers in a highly anticipated matchup as they both had one of the best running backs in the game. Ladainian Tomilson was on the Chargers and Adrian Peterson for the Vikings but only one had the spotlight as Peterson would go on to have one of the best games only a player could wish for. Tomilson was the first to strike as he rushed for a touchdown but it didn’t take long for Petterson to respond with one of his own as he tied things up at the end of the first quarter. Peterson failed to score in the second quarter but was still putting on a show as he had 13 rushes for 58 yards and 1 touchdown heading into halftime. After the first half, it was all Peterson as he took over the game and proved he was the better running back as he quickly scored on a 65-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

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Minnesota continued to feed Peterson the ball as they had no way of stopping him and the Vikings noticed it and allowed Peterson to run crazy over them. In the third quarter alone Peterson nearly doubled his rushing yards from the first half with fewer carries as he rushed for 105 yards on 8 carries and one touchdown. If you thought that was a good quarter, what Peterson did in the fourth quarter was something special as he rushed for even more yards than in the third quarter with only one more carry. Peterson quickly continued to dominate once again as he broke loose for a 46-yard touchdown to give Minnesota a 28-17 lead over San Diego. By the end of the fourth quarter, Peterson had 9 rushes for 133 yards and 1 touchdown as he led the Vikings to a 35-17 lead.

Game Stats: 30 carries, 296 yards, and 3 touchdowns

#2 Kurt Warner

Getty Images

In an NFC Wild Card matchup, the Green Bay Packers headed to Arizona to take on the Cardinals in what will go down as one of the best Wild Card games we will see. Cardinal QB Kurt Warner made it an even better game as he had one of the best playoff performances we will see for a while. To start off the game Warner threw a 15-yard pass to Earl Doucet halfway into the first quarter giving the Cardinals an early 14-0 lead. After the first quarter, Warner went 7 for 9 on completion for 106 yards and 1 touchdown. In the second quarter, Warnet only saw little playtime as the Packers had possession of the ball for most of the quarter but made his one possession count as he went 4 for 4 on completions for 34 yards and ended the drive with a 15-yard touchdown. Heading into halftime Warner recorded 11 completions on 13 passes for 140 yards and threw 2 touchdowns.

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The Cardinals started off the third quarter with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald after having another impressive drive giving the Cardinals a 24-10 lead. Once again Warner saw little time on the field as the Packers had more possessions resulting in them taking more time off the clock. Warner didn’t get the ball back until four minutes into the quarter but once again made use of it as he ended the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald giving the Cardinals a 38-24 lead and appeared to be on the verge of a victory. Warner couldn’t get anything going his way in the fourth quarter as he hit a small slump with the Packers defense finally playing solid in an attempt to come back. Warner finally got a touchdown with form minutes left in the quarter as he tried to stop the Packers from a comeback but ultimately failed as the Packers would take Arizona to overtime. Warner had an opportunity to add to his impressive stat line that includes more touchdowns thrown than incompletions but failed as the Packers scored on the first drive taking home the victory.

Game Stats: 29-33, 379 yards, and 5 touchdowns

#1 Steve Young

NinersNation.com

The Superbowl is one of the biggest stages in all of sports and the biggest in the NFL and is a time where you see what team really wants it more. Steve Young showed how bad he wanted to be called a champion during Superbowl XXIX as he displayed one of the best performances in Superbowl history. Young was determined to get the 49ers their fifth Lombardi trophy in franchise history after being close to capturing one in the past they just needed one win and nothing was going to stand in Young’s way. Young got off to a quick start as during his first drive he finished it with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice who was his favorite receiver to throw to throughout the season. As soon as San Francisco got the ball back they wasted no time to get more points up as Young threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Watters. After just the first quarter Young recorded 8 completions on 9 throws for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns with the 49ers in a good position. Once again in the second quarter Young and his offense wasted no time as they scored on a 5-yard pass to give the 49ers a 21-7 lead early into the second quarter and had an opportunity to take over the game. After the Chargers had a quick drive that resulted in a punt, Young led his team to an impressive drive that resulted in an 8-yard passing touchdown to Ricky Waiters. Heading into halftime Young was 18 for 22 on completions for 239 yards and 4 touchdowns with a commanding 28-13 lead. In the third quarter, Young began to slow down until he threw a 15-yard touchdown to Jerry Rice to give San Francisco a 42-10 lead and was basically on his way to be a champion. Young only played a few more drives as he was taken out in the fourth quarter but that didn’t stop him as he threw one more touchdown before he left giving the 49ers a Superbowl victory.

Game Stats: 24-36, 325 yards, and 6 touchdowns

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