Derrick Thomas is the greatest player in Kansas City Chiefs history. Of 169 games, which ones stand out as the top 10 most transcendent performances?
Derrick Thomas is the reason I fell in love with Chiefs football. The first game I remember is the infamous, record-setting 7-sack game. Watching him come around the edge on a pass rush is still my favorite football to watch, nearly 20 years after his last snap.
DT played in 169 games throughout the course of his career. Between them all, he amassed 601 tackles, 126.5 sacks (17th all time), 3 safeties (4th all time) and 41 forced fumbles (9th all time). In them, some stand out as being truly incredible performances which helped Thomas ascend to one of the greatest players in NFL history—and a NFL Hall of Famer.
Here, we analyze the top 10 performances.
Just a couple of important notes: first, it is exceedingly difficult to track down individual player stats by game pre-1993. The best statistical references only display only sacks, interceptions, and fumbles (but not tackles). Second, I excluded any game where Thomas did not have two or more sacks.
Honorable mention goes to the second game of his illustrious career, and in many ways the jump start not only for his Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign, but also to his Hall of Fame career. On September 17, 1989, the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the L.A. Raiders. In the game, the Chiefs fourth overall draft pick recorded 2.5 sacks and flashed brilliance up and down the field for the entire game. The Chiefs won the game 24-19. This game was also the first victory in Marty Schottenheimer’s tenure as K.C.’s head coach.
#10 – December 13, 1997 – Chiefs at Chargers
The Chiefs entered the game the prohibitive favorites, at 11-3 against the lowly 4-10 Chargers in a game that meant playoff seeding for the top seed seeking Chiefs; and absolutely nothing for the Chargers. Those motivations showed. The Chiefs throttled the Chargers 29-7, in a game that was not even really that close.
Thomas was the star here. In the game, DT compiled three sacks on the star studded QB combo the Chargers rolled out (Craig Whelihan and Todd Philcox… who?). In addition, Thomas recorded seven solo tackles and forced a fumble (one of five San Diego committed on the day). Thomas’ stats could have been much higher, but the Chiefs seemed to call the dogs off in the fourth quarter. You can still see the game with NFL Game Pass, too!