The following is a list of the players who scored the most touchdowns in a single NFL game. All touchdowns are counted including rushing, receiving, and special teams returns.
As you will see, one NFL team was involved in all of the games listed below. That team’s coach was also a witness to all of the performances listed below, and he ranked one as the absolute best.
Players Who Scored the Most Touchdowns in a Single NFL Game
T-1. Ernie Nevers – 6
Ernie Nevers set the record for most touchdowns scored in a NFL game when he scored six TDs for the Chicago Cardinals vs the Chicago Bears on November 28, 1929, which was Thanksgiving Day. All six of Nevers scores were rushing touchdowns, and he also holds the NFL record for most rushing touchdowns in a game.
In addition to scoring a record six touchdowns, Ernie Nevers also kicked four extra points in the game against the Bears, which the Cardinals won, 40-6. The 40 points scored by Ernie Nevers is also the NFL record for most points scored by a player in a NFL game.
All three of the records Ernie Nevers set on Thanksgiving Day in 1929, most touchdowns in a game, most rushing touchdowns in a game, and most points scored by a player in a game, are the oldest standing records in NFL history.
T-1. Dub Jones – 6
Dub Jones of the Cleveland Browns tied Ernie Nevers record for most touchdowns scored in a single game when he scored six TDs vs the Chicago Bears on November 25, 1951. In the game, Dub Jones had rushing touchdowns of 43, 27, 12, and two yards, and he also caught touchdown passes of 43 and 34 yards from quarterback Otto Graham.
Dub Jones was incredibly efficient in his record tying game. He had nine carries for 116 yards, and three catches for 80 yards in the game. So he scored six touchdowns while only having 12 total touches from the line of scrimmage. He scored a touchdown half the time he touched the ball in the game.
T-1. Gale Sayers – 6
Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears tied the NFL record for most touchdowns scored in a NFL game when he had six vs the San Francisco 49ers on December 12, 1965.
Sayers had rushing touchdowns of one, seven, 21, and 50 yards, caught a touchdown pass of 80 yards (screen pass) from quarterback Rudy Bukich, and he returned a punt 85 yards for his six touchdowns in the game.
Bears coach George Halas said after the game that Gale Sayers performance was the greatest ever by one man on a football field. As the head coach of the Chicago Bears, George Halas was witness to all three games in NFL history where a player scored six touchdowns.