46 years ago today on his 28th birthday, Hall of Fame Cowboy Bob Hayes scored four touchdowns to help the Cowboys rout intrastate rival Houston 52-10 to clinch the NFC East.
To celebrate our birthdays most of us go to a ballgame or a movie, eat out at a favorite restaurant or attend a family party. 46 years today Cowboys’ receiver Bob Hayes celebrated his 28th day in the rarest of ways, catching four touchdown passes to spark Dallas’ 52-10 romp over the Houston Oilers to give the Cowboys a 10-4 record and a NFC East title.
Since the Cowboys have been in existence, there have been 120 instances where a player has scored four or more touchdowns. Former Cowboys’ speedster Hayes is the only player to have done so on his birthday.
Dallas entered the week 14 showdown at the Cotton Bowl knowing it had to win its fifth straight game to give the team a shot at winning the division title. After Houston’s Roy Gerela and Dallas’ Mike Clark traded early field goals, Dallas’ Craig Morton and his talented receivers began an unrelenting assault against the visitors’ secondary. First Morton connected with Reggie Rucker for a 52 yard score to put Dallas up 10-3, and Morton’s first connection with Hayes (from 38 yards out) padded the Dallas lead to 17-3.
Another Morton to Hayes 38 yard score provided the only points of the second quarter, and Dallas took a 24-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Hayes’ speed was on full display in the third stanza, as he scored on passes from Morton of 15 and 59 yards to put Dallas on top 38-3. An Oilers’ fumble return for a score gave the visitors their only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, but that six pointer was matched and raised by the Cowboys who got rushing scores from Calvin Hill and Claxton Welch to make the final score 52-10.
Dallas would go on to beat Detroit and San Francisco in the NFC playoffs before falling to the Baltimore Colts 16-13 in Super Bowl 5.
On the day, Hayes had six catches for 187 yards and four scores. The 187 receiving yards was the third highest total in a game in Hayes’ career. In his second year in the NFL in 1966, the former Olympic sprint champion gained 195 yards on six catches in a 52-7 Dallas win over the Giants on September 8th and followed that up almost two months later with 246 receiving yards on nine catches in Dallas 31-30 win at RFK Stadium over the Washington Redskins.’
In his career, Hayes had 15 games where he had two touchdown passes and two games with three to go along with his four touchdown day against the Oilers.
Bullet Bob’s four touchdown performance against Houston is one of seven times a Cowboys’ player reached the end zone four times in a game. Dan Reeves had four scores in Dallas 37-7 win over Atlanta on September 5, 1967. In 1971, both Calvin Hill (on September 19th at Buffalo) and Duane Thomas (on December 18th at Texas Stadium against St. Louis) had four touchdowns in Cowboys’ victories during their first Super Bowl championship year.
Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is the only Cowboys’ player who has scored four touchdowns in a game on two occasions. In his rookie year of 1990, Smith reached paydirt four times in Dallas’ 41-1o demolition of the Phoenix Cardinals at Texas Stadium. On opening night 1995 at the Meadowlands against the Giants, Smith had four scores as Dallas drubbed New York 35-0.
The most recent four touchdown game in Cowboys’ history came on November 18, 2007 when Terrell Owens and Tony Romo hooked up for four touchdown passes as Dallas defeated the Redskins at home by a 28-23 score.