Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers died Wednesday at 77 years old after battling dementia. The Hall of Fame running back is one of the most electrifying players in football history, and his full set of skills were on display against the 49ers in what is considered the "greatest single game" in NFL history.
Known as the "Kansas Comet," Sayers led the NFL in all-purpose yards for three consecutive seasons to start his pro career. He totaled 2,272 yards as a rookie, and a large chunk of those came on Dec. 12, 1965, against the 49ers when Sayers tied the single-game record of six touchdowns in one game.
Sayers could cut on a dime and run right past ensuing tacklers. He made 49ers defenders look clueless, scoring rushing touchdowns of 21, 7, 50 and 1 yards. He also scored an 80-yard receiving touchdown, and his last score of the day came on an 85-yard punt return TD.
He couldn't be touched by the 49ers. It was true greatness on the field in every sense of the word.
Sayers finished the day with nine carries for 113 yards, two receptions for 89 yards and returned five punts for 134 yards, totaling 336 yards in a 61-20 Bears win.
Over eight career games against the 49ers, Sayers had 394 rushing yards, 182 receiving yards and 476 returns yards (punt plus kickoff returns). He scored 12 touchdowns against San Francisco.
Sayers' career was cut short due to a knee injury, and he remains the youngest player to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at 34 years old. Nobody saw his greatness at a higher level than the 49ers on that Week 13 whooping in 1965.