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Three years ago, I looked at the players who have scored the most game-winning touchdowns in NFL history. Let’s be clear: tracking things like game-winning touchdowns is only interesting in a trivial sort way, but hey, it’s May.

Yesterday, I looked at which players had the most game-winning touchdown passes, so today we look at all other scores (whether rushing, receiving, via fumble recovery or later, or even non-offensive TDs). I looked at all games, regular and postseason, in all leagues, from 1940 to 2015 (and playoff games from pre-1940), and counted all touchdowns scored that put the player’s team ahead for good (with one exception: I did not count touchdowns scored when down by 7 and the team successfully went for two afterwards).

The table below lists all players with at least four such touchdowns. As he was three years ago, Marcus Allen stands alone with 10 game-winning touchdowns, including one via fumble recovery.

After him are two Colts receivers, but not Hall of Famers Marvin Harrison and Raymond Berry.  Harrison had just one fourth-quarter game-winning touchdown in his career way back in 1999, while Berry had five.  But Jimmy Orr had nine (seven from Johnny Unitas, and two from Bobby Layne during his Steelers days), while Reggie Wayne had eight (four from Peyton Manning, two from Andrew Luck, and one each from … Dan Orlovsky and Joseph Addai against the 49ers). The table below shows all players who have scored at least four such touchdowns.

RkPlayerTDs
1Marcus Allen10
2Jimmy Orr9
3Reggie Wayne8
3Santonio Holmes8
3Jim Taylor8
6LaDainian Tomlinson7
6Cris Carter7
6Jerry Rice7
6Emmitt Smith7
6Gary Clark7
6Steve Largent7
6Ahmad Rashad7
6Lenny Moore7
14Michael Turner6
14Larry Johnson6
14Jimmy Smith6
14Jerome Bettis6
14Earnest Byner6
14Eric Martin6
14Michael Haynes6
14Roy Green6
14Ron Johnson6
14R.C. Owens6
24Marques Colston5
24Roddy White5
24Vincent Jackson5
24Chris Johnson5
24Frank Gore5
24Plaxico Burress5
24Chad Johnson5
24Steve Smith5
24Santana Moss5
24Fred Taylor5
24Isaac Bruce5
24Keyshawn Johnson5
24Curtis Martin5
24Terrell Owens5
24Tim Brown5
24Andre Rison5
24Leroy Hoard5
24Carl Pickens5
24Herschel Walker5
24Irving Fryar5
24Bill Brooks5
24Sterling Sharpe5
24Lorenzo White5
24John Taylor5
24Mark Clayton5
24Wesley Walker5
24Tony Galbreath5
24Rick Upchurch5
24Earl Campbell5
24Cliff Branch5
24Greg Pruitt5
24Larry Csonka5
24Lawrence McCutcheon5
24Gary Ballman5
24Bobby Mitchell5
24Raymond Berry5
24Larry Garron5
24Paul Lowe5
24Billy Wilson5
63Larry Fitzgerald4
63Jeremy Maclin4
63Torrey Smith4
63A.J. Green4
63Greg Olsen4
63Marshawn Lynch4
63Jonathan Stewart4
63Brandon Marshall4
63Maurice Jones-Drew4
63T.J. Houshmandzadeh4
63Anquan Boldin4
63Greg Jennings4
63Alge Crumpler4
63Randy Moss4
63Corey Dillon4
63Kevin Curtis4
63Tiki Barber4
63Donte' Stallworth4
63Eddie Kennison4
63Edgerrin James4
63Warrick Dunn4
63Stephen Davis4
63Travis Henry4
63Qadry Ismail4
63Shannon Sharpe4
63Mike Alstott4
63Ben Coates4
63Terrell Davis4
63Keith Byars4
63Brian Blades4
63Calvin Williams4
63Eric Green4
63Neal Anderson4
63Thurman Thomas4
63Mark Duper4
63Curt Warner4
63Rick Parros4
63Eric Dickerson4
63Ted Brown4
63John Riggins4
63John Stallworth4
63Dave Casper4
63Mike Pruitt4
63Mike Thomas4
63Fred Biletnikoff4
63Larry Brown4
63Jim Braxton4
63Charlie Sanders4
63Emerson Boozer4
63Jim Kiick4
63Leroy Kelly4
63Warren Wells4
63Dan Reeves4
63Gary Collins4
63Tom Matte4
63Don Maynard4
63Art Powell4
63Ollie Matson4
63Pete Retzlaff4
63Tommy McDonald4
63Hugh McElhenny4
63Joe Perry4
63Verne Lewellen4

What about just game-winning rushing touchdowns? There’s a four-way tie for first, among Allen, Emmitt Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Jim Taylor:

Receiving TDs?

Finally, there are seven players who have multiple non-rushing/receiving game-winning touchdowns: Dwayne Harris, Patrick Peterson, Dante Hall, Mike Brown, Tamarick Vanover, Elvis Patterson, and Andy Nelson. Both of Peterson’s came on punt returns back during his rookie season; he has five career touchdowns, but only one since 2011. Still, he’s certainly the favorite to become the first player with three non-offensive game-winning touchdowns in the fourth quarter or overtime in NFL history. Then again, Dwayne Harris also has two such scores, including one last year.

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  • Richie

    Looks like Frank Gore is the only active player in the Rushing TD leader list, and he needs 3 more to catch Allen at #1.

  • sn0mm1s

    I find it odd that of the RBs that are generally considered the top 3 GOAT (Sanders, Payton, and Brown) not one made the list despite rushing for 300+ TDs between them.

    • sacramento gold miners

      You’re right, that is strange. The only thing I can think of would be the lack of a great QB for those backs, meaning opposing defenses keyed on those players even more in crucial situations. Then again, I would have Marcus Allen and Emmitt Smith very close in quality with those backs, and Allen did not play with a HOF QB with the Raiders.

      On another note, I’m glad to see Michael Turner’s name in the second table. Turner enjoyed an excellent career, and had very rare speed for a RB of 237 pounds. He returned kicks for the Chargers early in his career, making Turner one of the heaviest kickoff returners the NFL has seen. Cullen Bryant of the Rams was also a large back returning kicks, but he was nowhere near the running threat Turner was. Brian Mitchell was roughly 210 pounds during his outstanding career.

    • JeremyDeShetler

      Maybe just lack of opportunity? If you play on a lot of good-to-great teams (Brown), then you’re probably not trailing often in the 4th quarter. If you’re playing on mostly bad-to-average teams (Sanders), then you probably have a number of games where you aren’t within 1 score. And if your career went from mostly bad teams (Pardee & Armstrong) to very good teams (Ditka) like Payton did…you’d get both extremes.