This week's flashback takes a look at the highest scoring game in NFL history.
What's amazing is that, after 42 years, the record still stands. The rules for this game were vastly different than they are today. Defenders could bump and run with receivers all the way down the field. Defensive linemen could head slap those attempting to block them. A penalty for offensive holding was 15 yards from the spot of the foul and the definition of holding was much tighter.
The combined 113 points are a record for any game and the Skins' 72 is the highest output for a regular season game.
The game account is from the pages of my book The Redskins From A to Z.
DC Stadium—The Redskins scored on offense, on defense, on special teams, on the ground and through the air in racking up the highest single-game scoring total ever in a regular season NFL game. In a losing effort, the Giants scored 41, making the combined total of 113 points another league record.
It started off tamely enough when Brig Owens intercepted a pass by Giants quarterback Tom Kennedy, setting up a five-yard touchdown pass from Jurgensen to AD Whitfield. It was the start of a career day for Whitfield, a backup running back as he scored three touchdowns. His second one made it 13-0—Charlie Gogolak had missed the extra point after the first TD—going into the second quarter.
The Redskins racked up three more touchdowns before halftime. Hanburger barreled into Kennedy, forcing a fumble that Owens recovered and returned 62 yards into the end zone. Whitfield and the player he backed up, Joe Don Looney, scored the other two. The Giants added two scores of their own and it was 34-14 at halftime.
The third quarter was Taylor's time to shine. The receiver scored on Jurgensen touchdown passes of 32 and 74 yards. Jurgy's passing line on the day belies the high scoring nature of the contest—ten of 16 for 145 yards. For his part, Taylor was glad to get on the board, having dropped a sure TD pass earlier in the game.
The Giants matched Washington's scoring in the third period with Gary Wood throwing a pair of touchdown passes of his own. That made it 48-28 going into the fourth quarter. The Redskins defense was certainly capable of blowing such a lead.
But there were more points to be scored by the Redskins. Ricky Harris pushed the Redskins over the 50-point mark when he returned a punt 52 yards for a touchdown. Then Owens stepped in front of a pass from Wood and went all the way with a 60-yard interception return. That touchdown broke the team record for most points scored in a game, the 59 they had scored against the Boston Yanks in 1948. The Giants scored two more touchdowns pushing the total for both teams over 100 points. Just for fun, Otto Graham lined wide receiver Mitchell up at his old running back spot and Mitchell scooted 45 yards for the Redskins' tenth and final touchdown of the day. To recap, they scored a touchdown almost every way you can: four running, three passing and one each on a punt, fumble, and interception return. They also got nine extra points and----a field goal.
Oh, yes, the field goal, a very interesting sidebar to the game.
Either thinking it was third down or just wanting to get the heck off the field, Kennedy threw the ball out of bounds on fourth down with nine seconds left. Gogolak trotted onto the field and kicked a 29-yard field goal. After the game, Redskins coach Otto Graham said that he just wanted to give Gogolak some practice. Some accounts said that the players had pleaded with Graham to go for breaking 70 points. The best story, though, is that Sam Huff, still mad at the Giants for trading him two years earlier, yelled out "Field goal team, field goal team" himself in hopes that the unit would run on the field in the confusion and rub some salt in the Giants wounds. No matter why, the three points made the final 72-41.