It was Oct. 26, 1997. Warren Moon was in his first season with the Seattle Seahawks, and three weeks shy of his 41st birthday.
But for three-plus hours at the Kingdome, the future Hall of Fame quarterback turned back the clock with a performance for the ages. In a 45-34 victory over the Oakland Raiders, Moon passed for 409 yards and five touchdowns while completing 28 of 44 passes.
And for anyone who really remembers Moon, you know he didn’t just pass a football, he launched picture-perfect spirals.
On that October afternoon, Moon wasn’t just on, he was en fuego.
After the Raiders took a 14-3 lead in the first quarter, Moon started taking his shots. He passed for 7 yards to Brian Blades for the Seahawks’ first touchdown. He then went to James McKnight for 42 yards, giving the Seahawks a 20-14 lead.
After the Raiders stormed back to score 17 points in the final 69 seconds of the first half and first three minutes of the second half, Moon took over again. He passed 17 yards to Joey Galloway for one score, 28 yards to Galloway for another and, finally, 2 yards to Galloway for the Seahawks’ final TD with 2½ minutes left.
Galloway caught seven passes for 117 yards, and the three scores. McKnight had four catches for 100 yards.
But this day belonged to Moon.
Five other Seahawks QBs have thrown for five touchdowns in a game, the last being Matt Hasselbeck against the New York Giants in 2006. Hasselbeck (449 and 427) and Dave Krieg (418) have thrown for more yards in a game. But no other QB in franchise history has put together the yardage and TD totals Moon had on that day.
But was Moon’s magical afternoon the best single-game passing performance in franchise history?
Here are a half dozen other fancy passers to consider (Steve Myer? Kelly Stouffer? Jeff Kemp? John Friesz? Jon Kitna? Brock Huard? Trent Dilfer? Seneca Wallace? Sorry, they just didn’t have a performance to crack this list):
Jim Zorn – Nov. 18, 1979
In a 38-24 win over the New Orleans Saints at the Kingdome, Zorn passed for 384 yards and four touchdowns (with no interceptions) by completing 24 of 33 passes.
Dave Krieg – Dec. 24, 1983
In the first playoff game in franchise history, a 31-7 win over the Denver Broncos at the Kingdome, Krieg compiled a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He completed 12 of 13 passes for 200 yards, with three touchdown passes.
Dave Krieg – Dec. 14, 1986
In a wild 34-24 win over the Chargers in San Diego, Krieg threw fourth-quarter TD passes to Steve Largent and Ray Butler in capping his four-TD performance. He also completed 15 of 21 passes for 305 yards and a passer rating of 153.3.
Dave Krieg – Dec. 18, 1988
In a game at the Los Angeles Coliseum that the Seahawks had to win to capture their first NFC West title, Krieg completed 19 of 32 passes for 410 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.
Matt Hasselbeck – Dec. 29, 2002
In the final game of his second season with the Seahawks, Hasselbeck engineered a 31-28 overtime victory against the Chargers in San Diego by completing 36 of 53 passes for 449 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The yardage total set a franchise record, while the 36 completions rank No. 2 in club history.
Matt Hasselbeck – Jan. 8, 2011
In one the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history, the Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints 41-36 at Qwest Field as Hasselbeck completed 22 of 35 passes for 272 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception – the week after sitting out the regular-season finale because of a hip injury.
Which passing performance was the best? You make the call …