Touted as the game of the season so far, it was a truly epic spectacle – in fact fans of the National Football League will struggle to see a much better encounter throughout history.
This instant classic produced 1,001 total yards, 105 combined points, 56 first downs, 10 passing touchdowns and four lead changes in a 35-point fourth quarter. Wow.
So good was this clash of two of the NFL’s best offences, that it instantly wrote a new chapter in the record books as the highest-scoring game in Monday Night Football history, while it goes down as the third-highest scoring game of all time.
So, where does it rank with other games of a similar nature? The Rams and Chiefs combined for 105 total points. Only five NFL games have seen more than 100 points amassed, so here we take a look at all five.
Points scored: 113
Washington Redskins 72 New York Giants 41, November 27, 1966
Washington and New York combined for a total of 113 points in one game – which still stands as a record more than half a century later. Whereas many games on this list and generally among the highest-scoring encounters in NFL history are close-run affairs, this was an absolute blowout, with the hosts scoring seven touchdowns of at least 30 yards at D.C. Stadium.
The home side trounced the Giants by 31 points. There were a total of 16 touchdowns scored: 10 by Washington and six by the Giants.
The game was played before the introduction of nets behind the goalposts, causing the loss of 14 footballs to the stands. While 13 were lost due to extra points, one was lost by Brig Owens who threw the ball into the crowd after he returned a fumble 69 yards for a touchdown.
It was the first of three straight games in which the Giants gave up more than 45 points. They allowed 49 against the Cleveland Browns and 47 versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Points scored: 106
Cincinnati Bengals 58 Cleveland Browns 48, November 28, 2004
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer threw for four touchdowns – for the first time in his career – and Rudi Johnson ran for two more along with a career-high 202 rushing yards as the Bengals survived 413 passing yards and five touchdowns by Kelly Holcomb to defeat the Browns by 10 points.
Deltha O’Neal picked off Holcomb and returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown in the final two minutes to end the Browns’ comeback hopes and to cap a truly remarkable afternoon of scoring.
To Cleveland fans, the game has become known as the “Butch Davis Panic Attack” game. Davis had a panic attack four hours before kickoff and resigned as coach two days later.
Points scored: 105
Los Angeles Rams 54 Kansas City Chiefs 51, November 19, 2018
After a back-and-forth slugfest in the first three quarters, the Rams and Chiefs continued to trade blows in the dramatic final frame. Kansas City took a four-point lead following a record-setting Tyreek Hill touchdown reception with a strip-sack fumble return.
L.A. responded with a 90-second touchdown drive. KC bounced back three minutes later with a lead-changing touchdown drive of their own. Within 58 seconds, the Rams were back up by three points, thanks to a game-winning 40-yard sideline strike from Jared Goff to Gerald Everett, who tiptoed down the sideline to put L.A. up for good.
The teams combined for 14 touchdowns – the Buffalo Bills have scored 13 touchdowns total this season.
Rams QB Goff completed 31 of 49 passes for 413 yards and no interceptions, but two fumbles and a rushing touchdown in the first NFL game to ever feature two 50-point performances.
Kansas City counterpart Patrick Mahomes was 33 for 46 for a career-high 478 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions in a losing effort.
Points scored: 101
Oakland Raiders 52 Houston Oilers 49, December 22, 1963
This game is so old, it took place in the American Football League (AFL), but it was absorbed into official NFL records after the NFL-AFL merger.
There were a total of 11 touchdowns scored in this slugfest, but it was Oakland placekicker Mike Mercer who was to make the difference, kicking a field goal with 4:37 left in the fourth quarter, breaking the 49-49 tie and giving the Raiders an epic win.
Raiders quarterback Tom Flores threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns. Oilers quarterback and future Hall of Famer George Blanda passed for 342 yards and five touchdowns.
Oakland’s wide receiver Art Powell enjoyed a mesmerising performance, catching 10 passes for a total of 247 yards and four touchdowns. Houston had their own offensive threat in Willard Dewveall who had seven catches, adding up to a total amount of 137 yards and also going into the endzone four times.
The record high-scoring game at the time, it was broken three years later by Washington and New York.
Points scored: 101
New Orleans Saints 52 New York Giants 49, November 1, 2015
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was under fire coming into this encounter, the 36-year-old facing criticism about his advancing years and his troubles following a throwing-shoulder injury in Week 2.
He answered his critics emphatically as he passed for 505 yards and a then NFL record-tying seven touchdowns.
Recently signed Kai Forbath kicked a 50-yard field goal – the only one of the game – as time ran out, giving the Saints a 52-49 victory in a game with a previous record 13 scoring passes.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning, whose father Archie starred for the Saints, threw a career-high six touchdown passes – three of them to New Orleans native Odell Beckham Jr.
“Never been a part of something like that,” Brees said. “Pretty wild.”
Trash talking is a massive element of professional sport, probably no more so than in America.
But when you have elite quarterbacks with the talent of Ben Roethlisberger on the opposite side of the ball in the NFL, poking the beast isn’t advisable.
The Jacksonville Jaguars found that out to their cost in the early hours of Monday when – seemingly set to pounce on a precious first win in five games – Big Ben chimed into action as time ticked down late in the game.
Instead, it was the Pittsburgh Steelers and Roethlisberger who pounced. There was 1:17 remaining in the third quarter when the veteran QB connected with Antonio Brown for a 78-yard bomb – a record extending 11th receiving touchdown of the season for the wide receiver.
Up until then, the only thing of note the 36-year-old Roethlisberger had thrown were a couple of interceptions to Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Ramsey had more interceptions than Pittsbugh had points for a long stretch – the record six-time Super Bowl champions were 16-0 behind until that late third quarter score.
An arrow from 11 yards then found the arms of tight end Vance McDonald with a little over two minutes left and suddenly Roethlisberger had a couple of touchdown passes to mirror those picks.
But when James Conner somehow let an easy grab escape his grasp that would have resulted in a touchdown with under a minute left in the fourth, it really didn’t seem like it would be Pittsburgh’s day.
Roethlisberger took matters into his own hands, or rather, his feet. After laying siege to the Jaguars’ line and seeing their drive kept alive by two idiotic face mask and holding penalties, the 6ft 5in, 109kg QB kept the ball and sought out the endzone, diving across the plane for the winning score with five seconds left.
“They’re a really good defence. They like to talk a lot, before the game, during the game, but I’m carrying the game ball home,” said Roethlisberger after the game.
Linebacker Telvin Smith had reportedly been in his face after the two interceptions, reminding Roethlisberger of his errors.
Lighting a fire under any quarterback rarely turns out to be a good idea, let alone a future Hall of Famer with as much talent and longevity in the game as Big Ben.
From trash talking to talking of all-time greats. And Roethlisberger certainly belongs to that group. He is already among the NFL’s all-time leaders in several categories.
He is the only quarterback in history to throw for more than 500 yards in three different games. The only other quarterback to do it more than once was Drew Brees.
Upon defeating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL he became the youngest starting QB to win the game’s greatest prize – surpassing Tom Brady.
Yet, despite undoubtedly being one of the best ever, Roethlisberger never seems able to propel himself into the GOAT (greatest of all time) conversation.
Unofficially, everyone agrees Brady is just that. At 41, Father Time’s record of five Super Bowl wins, plus a myriad of individual accolades, speaks for itself.
Brees, 39, has thrown himself into the conversation this season after decimating a number of big milestones, including breaking Brett Favre’s record for career pass completions (6,479) and Peyton Manning’s all-time passing yardage record (73,409).
Roethlisberger’s career 54,267 total passing yards place him seventh all-time – behind Brees, Manning, Favre, Brady, Dan Marino and Eli Manning.
Yet only Brady has more Super Bowl rings than 36-year-old Big Ben’s two (the younger Manning also has two).
His playoff record is also up there with the very best. His 13-8 win-loss mark is sixth all-time, with Brady (27-10) some way ahead.
He has led the Steelers to the playoffs in 10 of his 14 seasons. Brady has taken the New England Patriots to the post-season in 15 of his 18 campaigns and Brees six of 12 since joining the New Orelans Saints in 2006.
Roethlisberger’s vintage performance on Monday proves the ageing quarterback is still operating at the top level – and what’s even more impressive is how he’s led his team to an impressive 7-2-1 record without 2017’s star player, Le’Veon Bell, who has sat out the entire campaign so far over contractual issues.
The talent he possesses in his cannon of an arm doesn’t detract from misgivings off the field – Roethlisberger is far from the perfect human – but on it the veteran gunslinger is as dangerous as any of his contemporaries in a straight shootout, either with his arm or even as he showed on Sunday, occasionally with his legs.
It clearly meant a lot to an emotional Roethlisberger, seen kneeling and sobbing on his own on the sidelines following the winning score.
As the trash-talking Jaguars saw victory snatched from their grasp, they were left eating their words as they stare at a six-game losing streak at the bottom of the AFC South, while Big Ben and the Steelers sit unbeaten in six and atop the AFC North.
This is a Jaguars side that lost by a mere four points to New England in the AFC Championship game in January. It was their first playoff run in a decade, and time is against them if they are to make the post-season again this year.
Meanwhile, the Steelers keep rolling and Big Ben keeps ticking along.
It was a busy trade deadline in the NFL on Tuesday, with several notable names moved across the league.
The overarching theme of the trades that went down was contenders looking to bolster their roster for a playoff push with potential short-term acquisitions.
Here’s a breakdown of the biggest transactions.
EAGLES ADD GOLDEN TATE
The defending champions got better and they did it by finding value on the trade market.
Golden Tate isn’t going to solve Philadelphia’s secondary issues or banged-up backfield, but he does give Carson Wentz another weapon to work with. Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz are firmly established as the top two targets in the passing game, but Tate is known for having a safe pair of hands and an ability to fight for extra yards after the catch.
A third-round pick may seem like a steep price to pay for a player in the final year of his contract, but the Eagles will actually get a compensation pick somewhere in that ballpark if he leaves in the offseason.
Detroit, meanwhile, break up arguably the best receiver trio in the league, but it will allow Kenny Golladay to be more of a focal point in their attack.
TEXANS ADD DEMARYIUS THOMAS
After losing number two wide receiver Will Fuller to a season-ending torn ACL this past week, Houston were aggressive in filling his shoes by sending the Denver Broncos a 2019 fourth-round draft pick for Demaryius Thomas.
Two years ago, this would have been a bigger deal, but Thomas hasn’t topped 1,000 receiving yards since 2016 and at 30, doesn’t look like the playmaking receiver he once was. He’s also prone to drops – an area he will have no problem replacing Fuller. But otherwise, Thomas will struggle to be anywhere near the deep threat Fuller is.
He also brings a $14 million cap hit for next season, so it’s conceivable the Texans move on from him after half a season.
For the Broncos, shedding Thomas opens up even more opportunity the young Cortland Sutton, who has shown he’s ready for an increased role.
RAMS ADD DANTE FOWLER
The rich get richer as the league’s only undefeated team continues to stockpile talent.
It’s clear the Rams’ window of contention is at its most open right now, so it makes sense for them to go after a player who may not be there next season, which could be the case with Fowler who is due for free agency.
In the meantime, the former number three overall draft pick will bring situational pass rushing on the edge to compliment Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.
Jacksonville’s defence will take a slight hit, but they have more than enough on that side of the ball to maintain their strength. And it allows them to hedge a bit if they don’t reach the playoffs at the end of this season.
WASHINGTON ADD HAHA CLINTON-DIX
It’s understandable why Green Bay shipped off HaHa Clinton-Dix, the safety who has kept their secondary from falling apart in recent years, but it’s a move that certainly hurts their contention hopes this season.
Clinton-Dix is in the final year of his rookie contract and it’s obvious the Packers weren’t planning on bringing him back, so they recouped what they could. Now, they’ll put their faith in their young defensive backs to help fill the void.
In Washington, Clinton-Dix will be another reliable presence in a secondary that includes Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger. As the team currently leading the NFC East, Washington have every reason to believe they’ll need Clinton-Dix for the playoffs.
RAVENS ADD TY MONTGOMERY
Man, that’s a cold move by the Green Bay Packers to basically send Ty Montgomery away for his disastrous fourth-quarter fumble this past weekend.
Is a seventh-round pick really better than Montgomery, who can be useful as a runner and receiver? Probably not. But Green Bay also have Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in their backfield, so the work just isn’t there for Montgomery – unless it’s on special teams, and everyone knows how that went.
For the Ravens, Montgomery can add another element to their running back group, which features Alex Collins and Javorius Allen. For a seventh-round pick, it’s worth a flier.