As you may have heard, oh, a quadrillion times, the Broncos’ Peyton Manning and Eagles’ Nick Foles both threw seven touchdown passes in a game last season, tying the NFL record. They’re just the sixth and seventh quarterbacks to accomplish the feat (and the first since the ’60s).
But . . . three other QBs also have thrown for seven touchdowns in a game if you count pick-sixes — that is, the TDs they threw to the other team. And get this: Every one of them is the Hall of Fame. The details of the most imaginative seven-TD games in pro football history:
QUARTERBACKS WHO THREW FOR SEVEN TDS IN A GAME COUNTING PICK-SIXES
|Date||Quarterback, Team||Opponent||TD||Int TD||Total||Result|
|11-1-64||Len Dawson, Chiefs (AFL)||Broncos||6||1||7||W, 49-39|
|9-29-68||Joe Namath, Jets (AFL)||Bills||4||3||7||L, 37-35|
|9-8-91||Jim Kelly, Bills||Steelers||6||1||7||W, 52-34|
● Dawson (38 attempts, 23 completions, 435 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT) had his most prolific game as a pro for yards and touchdowns — and it almost wasn’t enough. Down 42-10 late in the third quarter, the Broncos scored 29 straight points in 5 1/2 minutes to close to within a field goal with 10:07 left.
Six minutes later, Denver was on the verge of pulling ahead, but wide receiver Al Denson “fumbled near the goal line,” The Associated Press reported, and Chiefs linebacker Walt Corey “picked up the ball and ran to the [Kansas City] 18 with 3:33 to go.” Dawson then led an 82-yard drive for the clinching TD.
Don’t forget: Had the Broncos completed their comeback, it would have matched the Bills’ 32-point rally against the Oilers in the ’92 playoffs, pro football’s all-time biggest.
● Namath (43-19-28-4-5) threw 72 yards of touchdown passes (4, 55, 3, 10) and 198 yards of pick-sixes (100, 53, 45). In fact, there were 79 games in his career in which he had fewer passing yards than he did pick-six yards against the Bills that day. The Jets went on to win the Super Bowl, though, so it was all good.
● Kelly (43-31-363-6-2) connected with wideout Don Beebe for four of his touchdown throws. He, too, reached the Super Bowl that season, but his Buffalo club got killed by the Cowboys, 52-17.
● Oddest note of all: Defensive back Tom Janik had a pick-six of 22 yards vs. Dawson and another of 100 yards vs. Namath. What are the odds of that happening? They were the first and last of his six career INT TDs. Unfortunately, he was long retired by the time Kelly came along.