Plays and players who starred in NFL Thanksgiving games

Turkey day and pigskin

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The NFL plays on Thanksgiving and it has given us plenty of memories. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions are on the schedule, per usual. However, they don’t always wind up on the right side of turkey day moments.

Leon Lett, 1993

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The Dallas Cowboys led the Miami Dolphins 14–13 with seconds remaining in snow-filled Texas Stadium. Miami’s Pete Stoyanovich attempted a game-winning 40-yard field goal that was blocked by the Cowboys’ Jimmie Jones. Since the kick landed beyond the line of scrimmage, once the ball stopped moving the play would be declared dead and Dallas would gain possession.

However, the ball landed and began spinning on its tip, leading Cowboys lineman Leon Lett to try to gain possession. Lett slipped, fell, and knocked the ball forward. By rule, the ball was live and the Dolphins fell on it at the two-yard line. With the recovery, Stoyanovich got a second chance to win the game and hit the much shorter field goal. The Dolphins won 16–14

Lawrence Taylor, 1982

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Detroit was on the Giants’ 3-yard line in the third quarter. Gary Danielson threw a pass that Lawrence Taylor picked off, and ran 97 yards into the end zone.

Dave Williams, 1980

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With the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears tied 17–17 at the end of regulation, the game went to overtime, the first Thanksgiving game to do so. Bears running back Dave Williams returned the overtime kickoff 95 yards for a game-winning touchdown.

Phil Luckett, 1998

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions went to overtime tied 16–16. Pittsburgh’s Jerome Bettis called the coin toss in the air, but head referee Phil Luckett awarded Detroit the ball after Bettis tried to call both heads and tails at the same time. The Lions went on to kick a field goal on the first possession, winning 19–16. As a result of the fiasco, team captains are now required to call the coin toss before the coin is tossed.

O.J. Simpson, 1976

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O. J. Simpson set the NFL record for most rushing yards in a single game, with 273. However, Bills backup quarterback Gary Marangi completed 4 of 21 pass attempts, for 29 yards passing, and a rating of 19.7. The Detroit Lions defeated the Bills 27–14.

Barry Sanders, I, 1995

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Barry Sanders ran for 138 yards and a touchdown in the Lions’ 44-38 win over the Vikings in 1995.

Barry Sanders, II, 1997

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Barry Sanders rushed for 167 yards and three scores, leading the Lions to a 55-20 victory.

Mark Sanchez, "The Butt Fumble", 2012

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One of the most infamous and embarrassing moments in Jets history as Mark Sanchez ran into the backside of one of his linemen, fumbled and the ball was returned for a touchdown by the New England Patriots, who romped. Known to all as the Butt Fumble.

Cowboys-Vikings, 1998

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The Vikings beat the Cowboys 46-36. Three receivers went for over 100 yards Randy Moss’ three went for touchdowns.

Peyton Manning, 2004

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Peyton Manning threw for 236 yards and six touchdowns, split between Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley. The Colts crushed the Lions, 41-9.

Bob Griese, 1977

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One of only two Thanksgiving afternoon games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 hosted by somebody other than Dallas or Detroit. The Dolphins downed the Cardinals 55-14 at Busch Stadium.

Walter Stanley 1986

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In 1986, Packers wide receiver Walter Stanley caught four passes for 124 yards and a pair of scores. He returned a punt 83 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 41 seconds to play.

Clint Longley, 1974

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Clint Longley led Dallas to three second-half touchdowns after Roger Staubach (pictured) went down in the third quarter with his team trailing 16-3. Longley threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson with 28 seconds left in a 24-23 victory. It was the highlight of Longley’s soon-to-be controversial time in Dallas.

Ernie Nevers 1929

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Chicago Cardinals running back Ernie Nevers scored six touchdowns, converted four PATs, and scored all 40 of his team’s points in a win over George Halas’ Bears.

Eagles, The Mud Bowl, 1968

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Eagles kicker Sam Baker made four field goals, one in each quarter, as the Eagles won, 12-0.

Bounty Bowl, 1989

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During the Eagles’ 27-0 rout of the Cowboys, they knocked kicker Luis Zendejas out of the game. Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson accused Eagles coach Buddy Ryan of placing bounties on Zendejas and quarterback Troy Aikman.

Jason Garrett, 1994

 

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With Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete sidelined with injuries and his team trailing 17-3, Jason Garrett steps in and throws for 311 yards and leads Dallas to 36 second-half points.

Dallas Texans 27, Bears 23 1952

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Not to be confused with the franchise that became the Kansas City Chiefs. After its seventh game, the franchise was returned to the NFL on November 14. The Texans’ home game against the Chicago Bears was moved to Thanksgiving and to the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, and was their only victory.

Lions 1962

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The 1962 Green Bay Packers entered the Thanksgiving Day contest at Tiger Stadium 10-0. However, the Lions sacked Bart Starr 11 times in a 26-14 win.

Raiders 36, Cowboys 33, 2021

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Daniel Carlson kicked a 29-yard field goal in overtime after Anthony Brown’s fourth pass-interference penalty, and the Raiders ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Cowboys. Carlson’s career-best fifth field goal came after Brown was called for interference on Zay Jones on third-and-18. All four of Brown’s interference penalties came on third-down incompletions.

Bears 16, Lions 14, 2021

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Cairo Santos made a 28-yard game-ending field goal to give the Chicago Bears a 16-14 victory over the Lions to temporarily preserve the job of head coach Matt Nagy, who was answering questions about his job status less than 48 hours before kickoff.

Story originally appeared on List Wire