Has all the increased passing in today’s game resulted in record performances? Find out as we go through the highest-scoring games in NFL history.
We’re truly living in the golden age of quarterbacks.
We’ve had Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and until recently, Tom Brady (New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — just to name a few.
QBs are slinging the ball more than ever, with 10 of the 11 seasons that featured the most passing attempts per game taking place between 2011-20. And the average NFL game had a record high of 49.6 total points in 2020, breaking the previous record of 48.9 in 1961.
But has all this increased scoring resulted in record performances?
Time to find out.
Highest-Scoring Regular Season Game:
Washington 72, New York Giants 41; Nov. 27, 1966
Touchdowns, turnovers and titanic scoring — the highest-scoring NFL game of all time had it all. Washington jumped out to a 13-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back, adding 21 more before halftime, 14 in the third quarter and 24 more in the fourth. Already holding a 69-41 lead in the closing seconds of the game, a 29-yard Charlie Gogolak field goal finally topped things off. Believe it or not, no team amassed more than 400 total yards. There were eight turnovers on the day and Washington returned two of the Giants’ six for touchdowns. Sonny Jurgensen completed 10-of-16 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns for Washington, which scored four more TDs on the ground.
Highest-Scoring Regular Season Game of the 21st Century:
Cincinnati Bengals 58, Cleveland Browns 48; Nov. 28, 2004
It was an offensive explosion at Paul Brown Stadium. This matchup resulted in nearly 1,000 total yards in this 100-plus point affair. Carson Palmer threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns (to go along with three picks) while running back Rudi Johnson led the way with 202 rushing yards and two scores.
Kelly Holcomb’s 413 passing yards and five touchdowns were not enough for Cleveland, which blew a 48-44 lead in the fourth quarter.
Highest-Scoring Overtime Game:
Seattle Seahawks 51, Kansas City Chiefs 48; Nov. 27, 1983
A 48-48 game at the end of regulation is certainly something you don’t see every day. Kansas City took a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, but Seattle quickly stormed back and the two teams went back and forth for most of the second half. Bill Kenney threw for 311 yards with four touchdowns and no picks for the Chiefs. Dave Krieg had 280 passing yards to go along with three touchdowns for the Seahawks. In the end, Norm Johnson made a 42-yarder to tie it and another 42-yarder to win it in OT for Seattle.
Most Points by One Team:
Washington 72, New York Giants 41; Nov. 27, 1966
This previously mentioned shootout not only set the record for most combined points in a game, the Giants also set the mark for most points by one team during a regular-season game.
Pre-Super Bowl Era: Chicago Bears 73, Washington 0; Dec. 8, 1940
We’ll include this, but it was technically a playoff game before we had wild card, divisional rounds and everything else. The Bears lost to Washington 7-3 just a few weeks prior to the 1940 NFL Championship game, but it’s fair to say they flipped the script the second time around. Washington had nine turnovers and Chicago finished with 519 total yards. Just 119 of them were in the air (on 10 attempts) and Bill Osmanski rushed for a game-high 109 yards.
Most Points by One Team in the 21st Century:
Miami Dolphins 70, Denver Broncos 20; Sept. 24, 2023
The Miami offense seemed to be unstoppable early in the 2023 season. And according to @OptaSTATS, the Dolphins became the first team to score 14 points or more in every quarter of a game since the Detroit Lions versus the Browns in the 1957 NFL Championship in late September when they poured it on against the Broncos. Miami was also the second team in league history to have one player score at least four touchdowns (Raheem Mostert) and another score at least three (rookie De’Von Achane). Mostert’s three rushing scores were the most for Miami since Ricky Williams did it on Oct. 25, 2009.
Here’s the rest of the teams that have put up 60 or more across league history:
- 70 — Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Colts (Oct. 22, 1950)
- 66 — Rochester Jeffersons vs. Fort Porter (Oct. 10, 1920)
- 65 — Los Angeles Rams vs. Detroit Lions (Oct. 29, 1950)
- 65 — Chicago Cardinals vs. New York Bulldogs (Nov. 13, 1949)
- 64 — Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Reds (Nov. 6, 1934)
- 63 — Chicago Cardinals vs. New York Giants (Oct. 17, 1948)
- 63 — Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants (Nov. 30, 1952)
- 62 — Akron Pros vs. Oorang (Oct. 29, 1922)
- 62 — Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants (Dec. 6, 1953)
- 62 — Cleveland Browns vs. Washington (Nov. 7, 1954)
- 62 — New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Nov. 26, 1972)
- 62 — Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints (Sept. 16, 1973)
- 62 — New York Jets vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Nov. 17, 1985)
- 62 — New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts (Oct. 23, 2011)
- 61 — Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Oilers (Dec. 17, 1989)
- 61 — Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers (Dec. 7, 1980)
- 61 — Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Oilers (Dec. 17, 1972)
- 61 — Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers (Dec. 12, 1965)
- 60 — Chicago Cardinals vs. Rochester Jeffersons (Oct. 7, 1923)
- 60 — Rock Island Independents vs. Crimson Giants (Oct. 15, 1922)
Animations by Paul Connors. Enjoy this? Follow us on Twitter.