Historic performances stand the test of time and, through 51 seasons of Texans and Chiefs football, fans in Dallas and Kansas City have witnessed some of the game’s greatest single-game achievements.
As a franchise, the Chiefs hold an overall regular season record of 395-365-12 (.519) and a postseason tally of 8-14 (.364). That’s a total of 794 games enjoyed by multiple generations of fans.
We’re taking those 794 games and focusing on five.
These five games include both wins and losses, but none are forgettable. Regular season and playoff contests are included as well. A Pro Football Hall of Famer is part of the list and so is a current player.
This is a list that includes team records and NFL benchmarks. It spans through all 51 seasons of franchise history.
These are the five best single-game performances in Chiefs and Texans history, as determined by KCChiefs.com.
#1: DT’s 7-Sack Game
November 11, 1990 vs. Seattle
Veterans Day was always special for Derrick Thomas, whose father was killed in combat during the Vietnam War. Robert James Thomas flew B-52s for the United States Air Force and his final mission was named “Linebacker 2.” Ironically, Derrick finished his collegiate career at Alabama with 52.0 sacks.
On this Veterans Day, Thomas paid tribute to his late father with an inspiring 7.0-sack performance vs. Seattle. The sack total established an NFL single-game record that remains unbroken.
Though the Chiefs were ultimately defeated by the Seahawks 17-16 on a last-second TD pass to WR Paul Skansi, Thomas proved unstoppable and terrorized QB Dave Krieg throughout the contest. Krieg and Thomas would become teammates two years later.
#2: Ed Podolak’s 350 Net Yards
December 25, 1971 vs. Miami
Ed “Crazy Legs” Podolak left it all on the field in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game that became the longest game in NFL history. The Christmas Day clash took 82:40 to complete, in double overtime, and finally ended on a 37-yard FG from Dolphins K Garo Yepremian.
Podolak accounted for an incredible 350 combined net yards in the game, a figure that remains an NFL postseason record today. He finished with 17 carries for 85 yards, eight catches for 110 yards and added 155 yards worth of return yardage. Podolak did all that he could, even setting the Chiefs up for a game-winning field goal after a 74-yard kickoff return within the final two minutes of regulation.
The 1971 Chiefs were regarded by many as the finest squad ever assembled by the franchise, including Founder Lamar Hunt.
“I always thought that was the peak of our best team, our 1971 squad,” Hunt recalled.
In total, 11 Chiefs made the Pro Bowl from the 1971 squad – a franchise record. They were: LB Bobby Bell, DT Buck Buchanan, G Ed Budde, DT Curley Culp, QB Len Dawson, MLB Willie Lanier, K Jan Stenerud, WR Otis Taylor, CB Emmitt Thomas, T Jim Tyrer and P Jerrel Wilson.
Each of the 11 Pro Bowlers is part of the Chiefs Hall of Fame. Starters from the 1971 squad also included future Chiefs Hall of Famers C Jack Rudney, T Dave Hill, Podolak, RLB Jim Lynch and RS Johnny Robinson.
#3: Abner Haynes’ 5 TD Day
November 26, 1961 vs. Oakland
Abner Haynes helped the Dallas Texans bury the Oakland Raiders 43-11 with a five touchdown performance at the Cotton Bowl. Unfortunately, just 14,500 people were on hand to see witness one of the longest-running records in franchise history.
Haynes finished the day with 14 carries for 158 yards with four TDs and two catches for 84 yards with a TD.
Haynes, 66-yard pass from (Cotton) Davidson
Haynes, 5-yard run
Haynes, 1-yard run
Haynes, 33-yard run
Haynes, 26-yard run
Only three players in NFL history have scored six TDs in a single game.
Ernie Nevers (Chicago Cardinals vs. Chicago Bears, 11/28/29)
Dub Jones (Cleveland vs. Chicago Bears, 11/25/51)
Gale Sayers (Chicago vs. San Francisco, 12/12/65).
Also, just eight players have recorded a five-TD game since Haynes did so in 1961. Clinton Portis owns the NFL’s most recent five-TD game, coming against Kansas City in 2003.
Billy Cannon (Houston vs. N.Y. Titans, 12/10/61)
Cookie Gilchrist (Buffalo vs. Baltimore, 12/8/63)
Paul Hornung (Green Bay vs. Baltimore, 12/12/65)
Kellen Winslow (San Diego vs. Oakland, 11/22/81)
Jerry Rice (San Francisco vs. Atlanta, 10/14/90)
James Stewart (Jacksonville vs. Philadelphia, 10/12/1997)
Shaun Alexander (Seattle vs. Minnesota, 9/29/02)
Clinton Portis (Denver vs. Kansas City, 12/7/03)
#4: Stephone Paige’s 309 Receiving Yards
December 22, 1985 vs. San Diego
Eight catches was all it took for Stephone Paige to establish one of the greatest offensive displays in NFL history. He averaged 38.6 yards per catch to churn out 309 receiving yards, which set an NFL single-game record at the time.
Paige’s big day beat out a previous league-high of 303 receiving yards set by Cleveland’s Jim Benton way back in 1945. Bill Kenny and Todd Blackledge both played a part in delivering Paige the football as the Chiefs were in the middle of a fully-engulfed quarterback controversy.
The 309-yard tally accounted for 32.7% of Paige’s seasonal total and was one of the few bright spots in Kansas City’s last place finish in the AFC West.
Paige’s record stood until 1989 when Willie “Flipper” Anderson hauled in 336 receiving yards on 15 receptions against the New Orleans Saints. Paige’s mark, however, remains as the second-best receiving day in NFL history. He is one of only four players to register 300+ receiving yards in a single game.
January 3, 2010 at Denver
Jamaal Charles ushered in the sixth decade of Chiefs football with style in a 259-yard rushing performance to close out the 2009 season at Denver. It set a franchise single-game record and registered as the eighth-best single-game rushing output in NFL history.
With 2:43 left to play in regulation and Charles closing in on the NFL’s all-time single-game rushing record of 298 yards, Kansas City re-gained possession at its own 20-yard line. Instead of going for the all-time mark, however, Charles removed himself from the game.
“I really didn’t want to get (the record) because I want to get it when I’m in the game and its competing time,” Charles explained. “People give up at that time and don’t really care. I could have gone back in game, but I told coach that I was satisfied and that I’d get it some other time.”
Perhaps even better than Charles’ big day was the sight of Broncos fans standing, booing and making an early exit. The win was Kansas City’s first at INVESCO Field. The Chiefs win officially eliminated Denver’s postseason aspirations.