CHICAGO – There are always reasons why “Sweetness” comes up in conversations about the game of football.
This week,Walter Payton was top of mind for a pair of reasons.
First, Tuesday marked the anniversary of his death in 1999, a sad moment for not only those associated with the Chicago Bears but also the entire National Football League.
But an achievement by another player last Sunday has also brought up Payton’s name again.
Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers dazzled fans with a rare offensive “trifecta”: Rushing, receiving, and throwing a touchdown all in the same game. He finished with one of each in San Francisco’s 31-14 victory over the Rams at SoFi Stadium.
He became the 11th player in history to pull off the feat, and one of those was Payton, who did so 43 years ago.
On October 21, 1979 in a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Metropolitan Stadium, Payton pulled off the trifecta with a rushing, receiving, and throwing touchdown.
The running back started his day by tossing a 54-yard touchdown pass to Brian Baschnagel in the first quarter to give the Bears the lead. In the second quarter, he would catch a short two-yard touchdown from quarterback Bob Avellini.
Payton then completed the trifecta with a two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
In the end, he would finish with just that one completion, 111 rushing yards, and two receptions for 26 yards. It wouldn’t be enough for the Bears who lost 30-27, but Payton would once help the team to a Wild Card berth later that year.
At the end of his Hall of Fame career, he would score 110 touchdowns on the ground, 15 on receptions, and throw for eight in 190 regular season games.
Two of the more recent “Touchdown Trifecta” moments include:
- LaDainian Tomlinson – Chargers – vs Raiders – October 16th, 2005
- WR David Patten – Patriots – vs Colts – October 21, 2001