Sunday, September 22, 2019

In 1929 Ernie Nevers Scored 40 Points in a Single Game

By John Turney
Nevers with the Cardinals
This year (2019) marks the 90th Anniversary of the NFL single-game scoring record. On Thanksgiving 1929, former Stanford star Ernie Nevers set a scoring record that still stands to this day. Ernie Nevers, a fullback for the Chicago Cardinals, scored six touchdowns and four extra points for 40 total points vs. the Chicago Bears on Nov. 28, 1929. The final score of the game against the Bears was 40-6.

On that Thanksgiving Day, the weather was bitterly cold, causing the field to be frozen and footing less than ideal but it didn't slow Nevers. The six touchdowns were all on the ground, so he also holds the record for most rushing touchdowns in a game.
Scoring record section, 2019 NFL Record & Fact Book
Rushing record section, 2019 NFL Record & Fact Book
The six touchdowns remain the single-game record but has since been tied by Dub Jones of the Browns in 1951 as well as 1965 rookie sensation Gale Sayers of the Bears. However, Nevers scored four PATs to secure the total scoring record.

He scored two rushing touchdowns in the first and fourth quarters and one each in the second and third quarter.

Just four days earlier versus the Dayton Triangles, Nevers scored all 19 points in a 19-0 shutout of the Dayton squad—meaning it was Nevers—59, opponents—zero in a four-day span.

Nevers only played five seasons in the NFL (for the Duluth Eskimos and the Chicago Cardinals). he was All-Pro team all five years and was voted in the first-ever Pro Football Hall of Fame class in 1963.
Nevers with Duluth
The Cardinals finished with a 6-6-1 record for fourth place in the twelve-team NFL. Never led the NFL in scoring with 85 points and NFL Films producer and author Chris Willis listed him as fourth in his NFL MVP Retroactive series for 1929.

That might seem low to casual readers but Willis reasoned, "most of his scoring came in two games; 6 TDs against the Bears and 3 TDs against a terrible Dayton Triangles team. Plus, he only made half his extra points (10 of 20)". That, and the .500 record likely shows others had better years than Nevers.

But, no one had a better offense game than Nevers did on Turkey day, 1929. No one.

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