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Gale Sayers 6 TDs in One Game

This post is a summary of a Five Minutes of Football History edition of The Game Before the Money Podcast. New episodes are posted each Tuesday. Please subscribe to this football history podcast on your favorite podcast app. Other episodes include interviews with pro and college football legends.


Gale Sayers scored six touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers on December 12, 1965. He remains the only NFL rookie to score six touchdowns in one game. Only three players accomplished the feat in the first 100 years of NFL football: Sayers, Ernie Nevers, and Dub Jones. You can hear Dub Jones discuss his six touchdown game in a future episode of The Game before the Money Podcast.

Gale Sayers joined the Chicago Bears in 1965 as a first-round draft choice. He electrified the offense and set an NFL single-season touchdown record with 22 touchdowns on the year. Not only did he score six touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers, he scored four touchdowns in one game against the Minnesota Vikings.

As of the end of the 2019 NFL season, Gale Sayers, Ernie Nevers, and Dub Jones remain the only three players in NFL history to score six touchdowns in one game.

You can learn more about Sayers’ amazing day by listening to the podcast on the player below or on your favorite podcast listening app. You can also read the transcription by scrolling through the transcription below.

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FOOTBALL HISTORY PODCAST: host Jackson Michael, Author of "The Game before the Money: Voices of the Men Who Built the NFL":
Welcome to "The Game before the Money Podcast", celebrating pro and college football history.

This is a five minutes of football history edition, Gale Sayers' six touchdown game. Hi, everybody, welcome to "The Game before the Money Podcast".

I'm Jackson Michael, author of "The Game Before the Money". This is a five minutes of football history edition that comes out every Tuesday, giving you five minutes of football history, actually, usually a little bit more. Because, you know, once I get talking about football, it's hard to stop, and especially when you're talking about a great player like Gale Sayers. Gale Sayers is one of three people in NFL history in the first 100 seasons to score six touchdowns in one game. The other two being Ernie Nevers and Dub Jones. Dub Jones will be on the game before the Money podcast very soon to talk about his six touchdown game. But today we're going to talk about Gale Sayers six touchdown game on December 12th, 1965, at Wrigley Field against the San Francisco 49ers.

Gale Sayers Rookie Year was 1965

Nineteen sixty five was Gale Sayers rookie year with the Chicago Bears and before this particular week, thirteen match up in a 14 game regular season. The Bears were eight and four coming in and still had a chance at the playoffs. The 49ers were seven and five. The two teams had previously met in week one, which was Gale Sayers first regular season pro game. The Forty Niners blew The Bears out of the water at San Francisco. They had a forty five to three lead going into the fourth quarter and the forty Niners eventually won that week one game fifty two to twenty four.

Gale Sayers scored 4 TDs against Minnesota

And in week five of the 1965 season, not very many people remember this or even know this.

But in week five against Minnesota, Gale Sayers scored four touchdowns in one game against the Vikings at the old Metropolitan Stadium. And similar to what he'd do against the 49ers, he scored in a variety of ways. He had two receiving touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and a ninety six yard kickoff return against the Vikings. He even completed a twenty seven yard pass in that game. And that tells you what kind of all around player Gale Sayers was.

Gale Sayers Six Touchdowns in One Game

That gray December day at Wrigley Field against the forty nine ers brought drizzling rain and a muddy field. Sayers later said that considering the field conditions, he expected the final score to be something like fourteen to seven or thirteen to ten, a very low scoring game. Sayers, however, quickly scored against the forty Niners. He took a screen pass 80 yards for a touchdown on the Bears first possession. The play came on third and ten, and Sayers made a cut that spun one of the forty Niners linebackers completely around. And if you're familiar with the Barry Sanders play against the Cowboys, it looks a little bit like that.

What made Gale Sayers great?

That play showcased Gale Sayers speed and cutting ability. One of the things to know about Gale Sayers is he own the rare ability to cut across field without losing speed. And he showed it on that first touchdown. On his second touchdown, he showed tremendous acceleration and athletic ability.

Gale Sayers second TD vs 49ers

Sayers took an inside handoff, hurdled over an Offensive lineman, who was pushing away a forty Niners defender in the backfield, and Gale Sayers bounced off a pile at the line of scrimmage and ran to his left. He accelerated and beat two defensive backs and then angled towards the goal line. Forty nine defensive back Kermit Alexander was right there near the goal line and dove low on a move that would have tackled most running backs but not Gale Sayers. Sayers dove over Alexander and into the corner of the end zone for his second touchdown of the day.

Gale Sayers third TD vs 49ers

His third touchdown came late in the first half, Sayers took a pitch out and ran to his riot. Following a block from Tackle Bob with Tusker, Sayers ran untouched for a fairly easy seven yard touchdown, but it showed how he could run equally well to his right as he could to his left. The Bears led twenty seven to thirteen at halftime.

Gale Sayers fourth TD vs 49ers

Early in the second half, the Bears had a third and one at midfield. Sayers ran to his riot on and off tackle play. Fullback Ronnie Bull blocked a forty nine hour linebacker and Sayers ran through the forty nine goal line two defensive backs had chances to catch up to him from opposite sides. But Sayers ran so quickly that he easily outrace both of them and dash the full 50 yards for his fourth touchdown of the day.

Gale Sayers fifth TD vs 49ers

His fifth touchdown of the day came from the one foot line as he jumped Walter Payton style over the goal line.That was also his twentieth touchdown of the season, and that tied a single season. Record set by Baltimore's Lenny Moore.

Gale Sayers sixth TD vs 49ers

Sayers' sixth and last touchdown of the day came on a punt return. He fielded the ball at the fifteen and dodged a shoestring tackle effort. A block sprung him to the Bear 40, where he made one of the signature moves of his Hall of Fame career. Three tacklers had a chance to bring him down near the 40 yard line. Sayers cut laterally to his left and cut sharp enough that two defenders fell down, not one defender. Sometimes you see a great move and one defender a fall down. Gale Sayers made two defenders fall down. At the same time, the third tackler got slowed down in the mayhem. And there's no way to catch Gale Sayers in that situation. Sayers was long gone, and the eighty five yard punt return was his twenty first touchdown of the season. And that set an NFL single season record. He ended up with twenty two touchdowns.

Players who have scored six TDs in one game

The Bears won that game sixty one to twenty. And remember, San Francisco had a winning record coming into that game. Sayers alone outscored the 49ers by 16 points. And as I alluded to before, he became the third player in NFL history to score six touchdowns in one game. Joining Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals and Dub Jones of the Cleveland Browns, Dub Jones will talk about his six TD game and shared great stories about his life and career with a championship winning Cleveland Browns of the 1950s.

In an upcoming episode of The Game before the Money podcast that I will release within the next two weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you don't miss that one. Gale Sayers six touchdowns guided the Bears to victory and kept the team in contention for the 1965 NFL playoffs going into the final week of the season in the locker room after the game. George Halas called Sayers performance, quote, the greatest football exhibition I've ever seen by one man in one game. And think about what that means coming from George Halas, who had been part of the NFL since its very beginning. Halas also broken age old team tradition, and Sayers became the first Chicago bear in history to receive two game balls in the same season. Sayers also broke the single season Bears point record that Johnny Lujack set in 1950. That day, December 12, 1965, was an historic day and an historic NFL season. Not only did Gale Sayers score six touchdowns that day, Paul Hornung scored five touchdowns that day for the Packers against the Colts. And not only did Gale Sayers break Lenny Moore's touchdown record in 1965, Jim Brown also broke it the next week. But that's another story for another day.

Thank you for listening to "The Game before the Money Podcast". Five minutes of football history edition on Gale Sayers. Six touchdowns in one game in nineteen sixty five. Please subscribe to the podcast.

If you haven't done so already and visit the game before the money.com. A transcription of this podcast is available on the "Podcast Notes" section of the game before the money dot com. Podcast transcriptions are powered by our transcription partners, Sonix S-O-N-I-X. Visit Sonix dot. A I to learn more.

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