PLACING BOUNTIES: Long before Sean Payton was suspended for a season in the New Orleans bounty scandal, Dallas and Philadelphia engaged in a bounty war on Thanksgiving in 1989. The Cowboys were on their way to a 1-15 record under Jimmy Johnson when the first-year coach claimed after a 27-0 loss that the Eagles had put a $500 bounty on rookie quarterback Troy Aikman, and a $200 tag on former Eagles kicker Luis Zendejas. Eagles coach Buddy Ryan said he didn’t know about any bounties. Johnson said he would have confronted Ryan on the field but that the Philadelphia coach “put his big, fat rear end in the dressing room.”
RECORD-SETTERS: O.J. Simpson had the only 200-yard rushing day on Thanksgiving in 1976, although Buffalo lost to the Lions 27-14. Simpson’s big day was also the league record at the time, surpassed a year later when Chicago’s Walter Payton rushed for 275 yards against Minnesota. There have been four bigger games since, topped by Adrian Peterson’s 296 yards when Minnesota beat San Diego 35-17 in 2007.
Miami’s Bob Griese had a record six touchdown passes in a 55-14 victory over St. Louis in 1977, the last year the Cowboys didn’t host the game because of complaints over an unfair advantage. Peyton Manning tied that mark with Indianapolis in a 41-9 win over Detroit in 2004.
TOP TURKEY MOMENTS OF 2012: Two goofy gaffes happened on the same Thanksgiving last year, starting with Detroit coach Jim Schwartz throwing a challenge flag when he wasn’t allowed to because all scoring plays are automatically reviewed. Schwartz got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that negated the review and gave Houston’s Justin Forsett an 81-yard touchdown — even though replay clearly showed his knee and elbow touched the turf. Houston won 34-31 in overtime.
That night, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez infamously fumbled after running into the backside of guard Brandon Moore. New England’s Steve Gregory picked up the loose ball and ran 32 yards untouched for a score in the Patriots’ 49-19 victory.
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