Where does Derrick Thomas’ seven sacks rank among NFL’s most unbreakable single-game individual records?

On Nov. 11, 1990, the Kansas City Chiefs' Derrick Thomas sacked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg seven times, setting a record that has yet to be broken 30 years later.

With Thomas' long-standing mark in mind, we're going to count down the NFL's most unbreakable individual single-game records.

Please note that these are player records accumulated throughout the course of a game (so, no single-play accomplishments such as 99-yard touchdown runs or passes, 100-plus yard INT or kick returns, or largest loss of yardage).

Here's a top 10 list that includes a myriad of both amazing statistical accomplishments as well as those that live in NFL record book infamy:

10. Leo Araguz's 16 punts

Date: Oct. 11, 1998

Amazingly, Leo Araguz's Raiders won this game, 7-6, over the Chargers. In total, there were 27 punts in this game (exciting!). There were also five interceptions, including three thrown by the Chargers' Ryan Leaf (a rookie in 1998). Araguz's final stat line: 16 punts for 709 yards for a 44.3 yards-per-punt average. The closest any punter has come to Araguz's number since then is 12, done multiple times. Given teams' propensity to go for it on fourth-and-short even from midfield, this could be a punting standard for a very long time.

9. Flipper Anderson's 336 receiving yards

Date: Nov. 26, 1989

In a 20-17 overtime win over the Saints, Rams WR Willie "Flipper" Anderson had 15 catches for a record 336 yards and a touchdown. Calvin Johnson came tantalizingly close to Anderson's mark in 2013, accumulating 329 yards in a Lions win over the Cowboys. Julio Jones had an even 300 yards in a game in 2016. That's it for recent challengers.

8. Tyrone Hughes' 347 combined kickoff and punt return yards

Date: Oct. 23, 1994

The Saints' Tyrone Hughes helped contribute to the zaniness of a wild 37-34 win over the Rams with his record 347 return yards, including two kickoff return touchdowns. He also had an interception. The Bears' Devin Hester has come the closest to reaching Hughes' total with 314 yards against the Lions in 2007.

3 total return TDs.
An NFL-record 384 return yards in one game by Tyrone Hughes.

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7. Fred Dryer's two safeties 

Date: Oct. 21, 1973

Before he starred in the TV series "Hunter," Fred Dryer was a star defensive end for the Rams. Dryer recorded two safeties in his entire 13-year NFL career and both happened to be in the same game, when he tackled Packers quarterbacks Scott Hunter and Jim Del Gaizo in the end zone. 

6. Glyn Milburn's 404 all-purpose yards

Date: Dec. 10, 1995

During a Pro Bowl season in 1995, Glyn Milburn put his dynamic talents on display in a 31-27 loss to the Seahawks. Milburn had 133 kickoff return yards, 131 yards rushing, 95 punt return yards and 45 yards receiving. Amazingly, Milburn didn't score a touchdown. No other NFL player has gone over 400 all-purpose yards. Billy Cannon had 373 total yards in a 1961 game; Adrian Peterson had 361 in a 2007 game. 

5. Jamie Morris' 45 rushing attempts

Date: Dec. 17, 1988

Jamie Morris played just three seasons in the NFL, but made his mark in the 1988 season finale against the Bengals, when Washington called his number 45 times to set up the all-time "Feed Me" standard. Morris finished that game with a career-high 152 yards rushing. The highest amount of attempts in the last 15 years? 39, by the Cleveland Browns' Jerome Harrison in 2009.

4. Norm Van Brocklin's 554 passing yards

Date: Sept. 28, 1951

It is absolutely amazing that this record has stood the test of time, given how much rules have changed to favor of the passing game in the decades since. It seems there's a game or two a season when a quarterback threatens to hit Norm Van Brocklin's mark, only to ultimately fall short, with some relatively close calls in the last decade (Matt Schaub had 527 in 2012, Ben Roethlisberger 522 in 2014, Matthew Stafford 520 in 2012, Tom Brady and Jared Goff 517 in 2011 and 2019, respectively). Van Brocklin's stat line in a 54-14 season-opening win for his Rams against the New York Yanks: 27-for-41 for 554 yards and five touchdowns. Van Brocklin finished the 1951 season with 1,725 yards passing as he shared quarterback duties with fellow Hall of Famer Bob Waterfield for the NFL champion Rams.

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Derrick Thomas registered 126.5 sacks during his 11-season NFL career. (Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports)

3. Derrick Thomas' seven-sack game 

Date: Nov. 11, 1990

Dave Krieg ranks fifth all-time in sacks taken, so it makes sense that Derrick Thomas – one of the NFL's best-ever edge rushers – would get his hands on the quarterback often when the Chiefs and Seahawks were AFC West rivals. Despite Thomas' destruction in the Seahawks' backfield, the Chiefs lost this game. Thomas just missed an eighth sack and Krieg delivered the winning touchdown in the final minute for the Seahawks. Thomas finished the 1990 season with a league-leading 20 sacks.

Eight years later, Thomas would have a six-sack game against the Raiders. Six sacks also represents the closest any player has come to Thomas' record. In a 2017 game against the Cowboys, the Falcons' Adrian Clayborn sacked Dak Prescott six times for the most recent attempt to match Thomas. But this record will be very hard to break, especially given that quarterbacks are becoming increasingly more mobile.

According to NFL lore, in a game on Oct. 26, 1952, the Eagles' Norm "Wild Man" Willey registered 17 tackles for loss of Giants quarterbacks that could have been counted as sacks had sacks been an official statistic at the time (that wouldn't happen until 1982).

2. Jim Hardy's eight-interception game

Date: Sept. 24, 1950

In 2017, Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half of a game against the Chargers. He was pulled before he could even threaten Jim Hardy's stunning 70-year-old standard for picks, which took place in the 1950 season opener.

However, let's cut Hardy some slack here. Hardy was driving to Comiskey Park for the game and was involved in a car accident. He arrived in time for kickoff, but played without warming up. In the second half, Cardinals coach Curly Lambeau tried to rescue Hardy from the nightmare by inserting Frank Tripucka at quarterback. But Tripucka got hurt and Hardy was back in to add to his infamous place in NFL history.

In the next game, Hardy threw for six touchdowns (and just two interceptions) for quite a down-and-up start to a season. At the time, those six touchdowns tied an NFL record for most in a game with Sammy Baugh and Johnny Lujack.

1. Ernie Nevers' 40 points in a game

Date: Nov. 28, 1929

In a Thanksgiving Day game against the rival Bears, the Chicago Cardinals' Ernie Nevers set the longest-standing record in NFL history. Nevers scored every point in a 40-6 rout of the rival Bears. Nevers' heaping helping of points included six touchdown runs and four successful extra-point attempts (which, we can only assume, were executed via the drop kick).  

It's hard to imagine this mark ever falling … unless, of course, a running back/kicker or receiver/kicker comes along in the future. A traditional player would have to score seven touchdowns. The most any player has ever scored is six. The most a player has scored in the past decade is five, by the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles in 2013 against the Raiders. The most field goals a kicker has ever made is eight and the most extra points is nine, so combine the two and you're still well short of 40. 

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