Recalling Lenny Moore’s historic touchdown streak
In the 1960s, former Baltimore Colt and Pro Football Hall of Famer LENNY MOORE offered a skillset well before his time, one widely coveted in today’s version of the game: a dual threat out of the backfield.
A trailblazer at the position, Moore’s ability to run between the tackles and line up outside at flanker allowed him to go on a record streak of 17 consecutive games, including the postseason, with a touchdown.
As the 49ers’ Christian McCaffrey nearly broke the scoring streak in Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season, we look back on how Moore first accomplished this feat 58 years ago.
Moore’s touchdown streak began with a Week 7 home matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 27, 1963. Despite losing the game, Moore connected with quarterback JOHNNY UNITAS on a 13-yard receiving touchdown. In the following game, against the Chicago Bears, Moore’s 25-yard rush was the only scoring play for the Colts.
After a 4-yard touchdown against the Lions in Week 9, the Colts’ dual-threat back suffered a head injury, forcing him to miss the rest of the season.
Moore entered the 1964 season with a three-game scoring streak since he last had stepped on the gridiron. He began his ninth year in a competition for the starting spot; however, he quickly ended any talk of another back at the top of the Colts’ depth chart.
He began the season with four touchdowns in the first two games, scoring twice in each. In Week 1, he found the end zone on a 2-yard rush and a 70-yard reception, followed by a 4-yard rush and 52-yard reception in Week 2. His streak continued, now up to five games, thanks to his prowess as both a runner and receiver.
Moore’s 3-yard rushing touchdown in a 52-0 defeat of GEORGE HALAS’ Chicago Bears bumped his scoring streak to five games.
The Colts dynamic back had a knack for finding the endzone under DON SHULA, recoding his third two-score performance in four weeks, with runs of 32 and 12 yards. A 47-27 win the following week, which included a 5-yard rushing touchdown for Moore, pushed the Colts’ record to 4-1, reaching half their win total from the previous year in only five games.
A Week 6 head-to-head matchup of Hall of Fame running backs, in Moore and Green Bay’s JIM TAYLOR, and coaches, in VINCE LOMBARDI and Shula, was must-see television. Taylor’s line of 115 total yards and a touchdown was not enough for the Packers, as the Colts scored three times on the ground, including two from Moore (21 and 5 yards), in their 24-21 win.
Week 7’s 34-0 victory over the Lions saw Moore get the scoring started, taking a handoff 11 yards and finding the end zone. Two rushing touchdowns the next week against San Francisco saw his scoring streak reach double-digits.
He continued to dominate opponents in Weeks 9 to 12, scoring the opening touchdown for Baltimore in all four games, extending their winning streak to 11 games.
In a rematch against Halas and the Bears in Week 8, Moore’s 2-yard rush put the first six points on the board and set the Colts on the path to a 40-24 victory.
The next week, Moore took a pass from Unitas 74 yards to the end zone. Moore would lead all receivers in that game with 107 yards and nearly matched all Vikings players, who totaled 117 receiving yards.
Against the Rams in Week 11, his 18-yard run was the first of three rushing scores for Baltimore from three running backs.
Winning their 11th consecutive game, Moore’s redzone score from 2 yards out gave the Colts a lead they never relinquished after falling behind 3-0 in the first quarter to the 49ers.
Although the team’s winning streak came to an end, Moore’s touchdown streak continued for a 16th consecutive game in an unlikely fashion. Trailing 17-7 to the Detroit Lions, the Colts fumbled into the end zone, and Moore scooped the ball off the grass for a touchdown.
Baltimore got back in the win column in their final regular-season game, against the Washington Redskins, with a final score of 45-17. Moore found the end zone twice, matching Washington’s TD output, with two short scoring runs.
The Colts’ 12-2 record placed them atop the NFL West Division and into the 1964 NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore’s offense was held to only 181 total yards and zero points, ultimately ending Moore’s streak.
At the end of the season, Moore had totaled 20 touchdowns, which set a new NFL record, surpassing Taylor’s 19 from two years prior. The do-it-all back became a pivotal cog in the Colts’ successful season, posting the club’s first double-digit win total.
McCaffrey tied Moore’s streak of 17 consecutive games scoring in Week 8 of the 2023 season and had a chance to break the streak coming off a bye week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His streak also spanned two seasons, dating back to Week 13 of the 2022 season against the Miami Dolphins. McCaffrey’s streak included three postseason games from the 2022 season.
Both Moore and McCaffrey displayed their dual-threat abilities, each surpassing 600 yards receiving – Moore with 610 and McCaffrey with 614 – over their respective streaks.
Both running backs recorded 23 total touchdowns over their 17-game streaks: Moore with 18 rushing, four receiving and one via fumble recovery and McCaffrey with 15 rushing and eight receiving.
Every general manager and head coach in the NFL would love to have a running back with Lenny Moore’s skillset in today’s game.
Note: Hall of Famer LaDANIAN TOMLINSON, along with Moore, holds the record for most consecutive regular-season games scoring a touchdown, at 18 games. Tomlinson failed to reach the endzone in the Los Angeles Chargers 2004 wild card game against the New York Jets, however he continued his streak during the 2005 regular season. After not scoring in the 1964 NFL Championship Game, Moore scored in the first game of the 1965 season, pushing his streak to 18 regular-season games.
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