Wondering what the highest scoring NFL game was? Let’s look back at the game in detail and find the highest scoring Super Bowl too.
There are several ways to score points in an NFL game, including field goals, extra points, safeties, touchdowns and more. In some cases, teams score and score and score until we can reflect on the record books to find the highest-scoring NFL game in the sport’s history.
Here, we’ll look back at that game in detail, review the next four-highest, and find the highest-scoring Super Bowl.
Let’s check them out.
Highest Scoring NFL Game Ever
You might be surprised to learn that the highest-scoring NFL game occurred in 1966—November 27th.
The game took place between the New York Giants and the then-Washington Redskins.
In the game, the Giants had two quarterbacks, Tom Kennedy, and Gary Wood, while the Redskins started Sonny Jurgensen.
Looking through the lens of today’s NFL, you’ll be stunned to hear that the Redskins attempted just 16 passes and the Giants 33.
The final score of the game was 72-41, with the Redskins winning.
How Did They Do It?
So how did they score that many points with so few pass attempts and make NFL history as the highest scoring game?
Well, let’s cover the passing attack first.
For the Giants, Kennedy and Wood combined for three touchdowns, which, after extra points, is 21 points. The remaining scores came from rushing touchdowns by Wood, Allen Jacobs, and Dan Lewis.
Turning things over to the Redskins, Jurgensen had three passing touchdowns. In contrast, A.D. Whitfield had two rushing scores, and Bobby Mitchell and Joe Don Looney had one.
The quarterly scoring breakdown was the following:
- First Quarter: Redskins 13, Giants 0
- Second Quarter: Redskins 21, Giants 14
- Third Quarter: Redskins 14, Giants 14
- Fourth Quarter: Redskins 24, Giants 13
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Beyond the passing/receiving and rushing touchdowns, the only scores came in the following ways:
- Redskins: Brig Owens returns a 62-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.
- Redskins: Rickie Harris returns a punt for 52 yards and a touchdown.
- Redskins: Owens returns an interception 60 yards for a touchdown.
- Redskins: Charlie Gogolak makes a 29-yard field goal.
This game, from the word “go,” was never really in doubt as the Redskins scored 11 times at the District of Columbia Stadium. The Redskins head coach at the time was Otto Graham, a legendary quarterback.
With this win, the Redskins improved to 6-6 while the Giants fell to 1-9-1.
Next Highest Scoring NFL Games
Now, let’s check out some more of the highest scoring NFL games that have taken place over the years.
Cincinnati Bengals 58, Cleveland Browns 48 (November 28th, 2004)
In a battle between two AFC North teams, the Bengals totaled 58 points and held off the Browns’ 48.
Long-time head coach Marvin Lewis coached the Bengals with young quarterback Carson Palmer. Palmer completed 22-of-29 passes for 251 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Browns starter Kelly Holcomb had a massive game, completing 30-of-39 passes for 413 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions.
Assisting Palmer was Rudi Johnson, who had 26 carries for 202 yards and two scores. In comparison, William Green of the Browns added a touchdown and 76 yards rushing.
Despite the number of turnovers; only one directly resulted in a touchdown, the final score of the game in which Deltha O’Neal returned a 31-yard interception to help score the Bengals 58th point.
Los Angeles Rams 54, Kansas City Chiefs 51 (November 19th, 2018)
The most recent game on the highest scoring NFL games list is one modern NFL fans will remember quite well.
Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff squared off and combined for nearly 900 passing yards and ten touchdowns. Goff didn’t throw a single interception, while Mahomes threw three. Goff also added a rushing touchdown. Neither team scored outside of the Goff rushing score due to a rushing touchdown. Instead, there were three defensive touchdowns.
With less than two minutes to go in the game, the Rams were down 51-47 before Goff threw a 40-yard passing touchdown to tight end Gerald Everett, which would lead them to win the game.
New Orleans Saints 52, New York Giants 49 (November 1st, 2015)
Another somewhat recent showdown, this game featured two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Drew Brees and Eli Manning.
Both teams were in a prime position to succeed with Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton coaching. The Giants had Odell Beckham Jr. in his prime, and he would catch eight passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Manning finished the game passing for 350 yards and six touchdowns, while Brees tied the all-time single-game record with seven touchdowns and added 505 passing yards and two interceptions.
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Interestingly, there were no rushing scores here. How the game ended was a miracle for the Saints. They scored with 36 seconds to go and tied the game. From there, the Saints forced the Giants to punt, stopping them on offense and using timeouts. Marcus Murphy returned the punt 24 yards before fumbling but was saved by teammate Willie Snead. From the Giants 32-yard line, kicker Kai Forbath nailed a 50-yard field goal to seal the victory. Making this another one of the highest scoring NFL games in history.
Oakland Raiders 52, Houston Oilers 49 (December 22nd, 1963)
This first non-November game features the Al Davis-coached Raiders and the now-defunct Oilers. The Oiler had well-known quarterback George Blanda who threw for 342 yards and five touchdowns, while Charley Tolar and Dave Smith added a rushing touchdown.
The Raiders had Tom Flores, who passed for six touchdowns and 407 yards. Clem Daniels didn’t score, but he did have 158 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Raiders were down 49-42. To close out the game, the Raiders got a passing touchdown from Flores to Art Powell and ended the game with a 39-yard field goal from Mike Mercer. The Raiders were 6.5-point favorites heading into the game, and while they didn’t cover, they are down in the record books as being part of one of the highest scoring NFL games ever.
What Was the Highest Scoring Super Bowl?
The highest scoring Super Bowl came on January 29th, 1995, between the San Francisco 49ers and the then-San Diego Chargers. The 49ers didn’t have much trouble in this game, going on to win 49-26, but this was still the most points ever scored in an NFL Super Bowl.
Of course, the 49ers teams from this era included Steve Young, who passed for 325 yards and six touchdowns while adding 49 rushing yards. Wide receiver Jerry Rice caught ten passes for 149 yards and had half of Young’s passing scores.
On the other side, the Chargers had Stan Humphries, who struggled, passing for 275 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Gale Gilbert attempted six passes and threw an interception as well. At halftime, the 49ers led 28-10, and it wasn’t a close contest throughout.
The 49ers during this time were dominant, and being part of the highest-scoring Super Bowl ever that wasn’t much of a close game illustrates that even further.