5 NFL Players Who Had Monster Games On Halloween
When the NFL plays on Halloween, there have been some thrills, chills, frights and highlights. Here are five players who had monster games on the holiday.
It’s scary how some players perform on Halloween. Maybe pumpkins pump them up? Maybe jack-o-lanterns get them jacked? Maybe the Day of the Dead makes them feel more alive? The numbers from some games could cause a coach’s hair to go white.
Take the Indianapolis Colts-Kansas City Chiefs contest on Halloween 2004. Peyton Manning threw for 472 passing yards and five touchdowns in defeat while Trent Green chucked for 389 passing yards and three scores of his own.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez had eight catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns for KC while Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne each had two touchdowns and more than 100 yards receiving. Running back Priest Holmes rushed 32 times for 143 yards and three touchdowns and added another 82 yards receiving. If you took the over, you won some coin.
The stellar stats put up on All Hallow’s Eve aren’t just reserved for superstars. Ever heard of Ray Jarvis? He had six grabs for 163 yards and a pair of scores in a 1976 game against the Green Bay Packers. How about Delvin Williams? The San Francisco 49ers running back rushed for 194 yards and three touchdowns in a 1976 game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Even Tim Couch and Scott Mitchell broke out with big passing days.
So, who’s got the top five spots all-time? Check out these spooky picks.
5. Rod Smith, Denver Broncos vs. Atlanta Falcons (2004)
Though the Broncos lost 41-28, you can’t really blame Denver wide receiver Rod Smith, who finished with nine catches for 208 yards and an 80-yard receiving touchdown. Smith’s quarterback, Jake Plummer, had 55 attempts, threw for 499 yards, four touchdowns, and targeted Rod 17 times. We mustn’t forget that Smith also had a carry for six yards and two punt returns for 23 yards.
After Smith’s long touchdown gave Denver the 14-3 lead late in the first quarter, Atlanta scored five straight times to make it 34-14 early in the fourth and never relinquished.
The defeat dropped the Broncos to 5-3 while the Falcons improved to 6-2. Denver would finish second in the AFC West with a 10-6 record and lose by a large margin to the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card game thanks to Peyton Manning’s 458 passing yards and four touchdowns. Atlanta would win the NFC South with a 11-5 record and lose to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship.
Larry Wilson had three interceptions off Bears quarterback Rudy Bukich, returning one for a touchdown to help secure a 24-10 win at Civic Center Busch Stadium. In that game, the Cardinals ran the ball 41 times for 119 yards and a pair of scores while St. Louis quarterback Charley Johnson only totaled 47 total passing yards. He went 4-of-16 throwing the ball with one interception to earn a rating of 13.5.
Bukich would only play two more seasons after the 1966 campaign, playing in only five games. On the other hand, Wilson was a First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowler from 1966-70. Larry finished the 66 season with 10 interceptions, which led the league. That year would be Wilson’s best. That victory over Chicago propelled St. Louis to 6-1-1, but they would finish fourth in the NFL East with a record of 8-5-1.
Larry is currently 26th on the all-time interceptions leaderboard with 52, 29th all-time in interception return yards, 13th all-time in fumble return yards. His honors include Pro Football Hall of Fame team All-1960s Team, Pro Football Reference 2nd team All-1960s Team, and Pro Football Hall of Fame 2nd team All-1970s Team.
3. Emmitt Smith, Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1993)
The NFL’s all-time leader rusher in yards and touchdowns carried the ball 30 times for 237 yards and a touchdown in a 23-10 win over the Eagles at Veterans Stadium. Smith’s yards from scrimmage accounted for 66.6 percent of Dallas’ offensive output as Troy Aikman struggled, going 9-of-19 for 96 yards. The win increased Dallas’ record to 5-2 and Smith won NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Dallas would only lose two more games all season, capping off the regular season with a huge overtime win over the New York Giants in another memorable effort from Smith, who was nursing a separated shoulder for most of the contest.
In 1993, Smith led the league in rushing yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, and yards from scrimmage. Emmitt would earn First-Team All-Pro honors and made the Pro Bowl roster. He would also be named league MVP by the Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, and the Newspaper Entertainment Association in addition to winning the Bert Bell Award for Player of the year and Super Bowl MVP.
After that Super Bowl championship season, Emmitt would play nine more seasons for Dallas before playing the last two of his career with Arizona.
2. Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals (2013)
The Miami Dolphins defensive end had five tackles and three sacks, one of which was a strip-sack that Cameron recovered the fumble, and another was the game-winning safety as he took down Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in Cincy’s end zone in overtime. The play would be challenged, but the ruling on the field was upheld, giving Miami the 22-20 upset win. The victory evened the Dolphins record to 4-4 while dropping Cincinnati’s record to 6-3.
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The Dolphins went up 17-3 in the third quarter following a 94-yard interception return by Brent Grimes, but allowed Cincinnati back in the game on a pair of Giovanni Bernard touchdowns. The Fins actually went down by three after a long Mike Nugent field goal with less than two minutes remaining, but got a game-tying kick from Caleb Sturgis with 11 seconds left in the contest.
Miami would win four of their next six games and finish the 2013 season at 8-8. They would miss the playoffs after losing back-to-back division games to the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the final two weeks. That was after the Dolphins teased a playoff run with a big win against the Patriots in Week 15.
Cameron Wake would finish with 8.5 sacks and 29 tackles en route to the 31-year-old’s third Pro Bowl selection. In 2014, Wake played all 16 games, collecting 11.5 sacks, but hasn’t been the same since, only tallying 12 tackles and 10 sacks over the past two injury-plagued seasons.
The artist who would eventually be known as “Breesus” in New Orleans pulled off a magical stat-filled feat, completing 22-of-25 passes for 285 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-14 win over the Oakland Raiders. Drew accrued a passer rating of 153.1, falling just 5.2 points shy of perfection.
In his next-to-last season as a Charger, Brees made his first Pro Bowl, throwing for more than 3,100 yards and 27 touchdowns while putting up the best QB rating of his then four-year career. The 2004 Chargers would win the AFC West with a 12-4 record, but lost in overtime by a field goal to the New York Jets thanks to a missed kick by Nate Kaeding.
Here’s a not-so-fun fact for anyone keeping tabs on the Raiders: they haven’t had a winning season since their Super Bowl run in 2002. That should change this season with Derek Carr in the discussion for league MVP.
12 seasons later, Brees has cemented himself as a surefire Hall of Famer, as he’s led the league in passing yards six times, passing touchdowns four times, completion percentage three times, and QB rating once. Safe to say, Brees has simply been a better quarterback in the Big Easy.