The 82-Point Game

By Chris Lawton

Only 70 points? The CFL raises you another 12!

If you were watching the NFL games this Sunday then you saw some history in the Week 3 game between the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos. That is because the Dolphins posted 70 points in a game. A feat so rare it hasn’t been seen in an NFL game since 1966. The highest ever score by one team came way back in the 1940 NFL Championship game when the Chicago Bears walloped Washington 73-0!

But did you know that the CFL can outstrip even that? Because way back in 1956, the Montreal Alouettes posted 82 points in an 82-14 crushing of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The 82-Point Game

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This was Montréal’s sixth consecutive win in 1956, moving them to 10-2 on the season, and guaranteeing them a first place IRFU Division finish. Led on offense by QB Sam Etcheverry (above), Wideout Hal Patterson, and RB Pat Abruzzi, the Alouettes were a high scoring outfit. This season they scored 42, 36, 56, 44, and 42 points in games as well this 82-point explosion.

In the game itself, Hal Patterson returned a kick-off 105 yards, eclipsing his own record of 95-yards. By scoring 82 points, the Als surpassed the standing record of 58 points amassed by the Toronto Argonauts in a 1938 game.

The combined points tally of 96 points shaded the 87 points from earlier in the season when the Alouettes had edged the Tiger-Cats 44-43. But Hamilton would get some measure of revenge for this one a week later, as they beat Montréal 50-14 in Hamilton!

The Playoffs

At this time there was a 2-legged playoff to see who would represent the IRFU in the Grey Cup. As Montréal (10-4) and Hamilton (7-7) had finished first and second respectively they played off. Both had proved they could score on the other. This time around Montréal won both games – 30-21 in Hamilton and 48-41 in Montréal for an aggregate win of 78-63. Fans in Canada were being treated to some sensational scoring at this time.

The Als were dominant in the East from 1953-56. During that period, they would appear in 3 consecutive title games (1954-6) and lose on each occasion to Edmonton. 1956 was no different as Edmonton claimed a hat-trick of titles with a 50-27 win.

A Couple Of Superstars

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You cannot score 82 points without offensive talent. The 1956 Alouettes had two shining stars in that respect. QB Sam Etcheverry put up some very modern looking passing numbers. Sam played his entire nine-year CFL career with Montreal from 1952 to 1960.

Most people know that Joe Namath was the first QB to crack 4,000 yards passing in a season in the NFL in 1967. He hit 4,007 yards and 26 TDs in a 14-game season.

Well, ‘The Rifle’ did it earlier. Sam Etcheverry put together a season in 1956 that wouldn’t look out of place in the modern game. That year over 14 games he completed 61.9% of his passes for 4,723 yards (10.3 yards per attempt) and 32 touchdowns.

Meanwhile Hal ‘Prince’ Patterson (above) had a season for the ages too. He had 88 Catches, 1,914 yards, 21.8 yards per catch, & 12 TD’s. this while also missing a couple of games! His yardage record stood for 27 years.

Patterson won the most outstanding player award in 1956 and set a team record of 11 100-yard receiving games in a single (14 game) season that year. That record stood for over half a century.

He spent seven years with the Montreal Alouettes before starting a seven-year run with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1961. Ironically, he won three Grey Cups as a tabbie and none with Montreal.

A Little Perspective

While Montreal may have outscored all the seventy-point regular and post season performances from the NFL, only one other CFL team has ever scored 70 points. That came when the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders 70-18 at the Sky Dome. Those Argos also posted 68, 60, 59, and 49-point games at home in the same season.

That meant the 1990 Argos posted the second and third highest single-game scoring totals, (70 & 68), in the same season. Winnipeg would also score 68 points the following year as the Blue Bombers defeated Hamilton 68-14. 

Ultimately it doesn’t matter who scored the most when. But we do not that on all these occasions, CFL and NFL, one set of fans will have gone home ecstatic and one set miserable.

It may be a long time before we see anything like this in the CFL again, but it is always fun to wait and see what the future has in store.



Chris originally started following the NFL with the ‘first wave’ of fans when it was shown on Channel 4 in the 1980’s. He has been a keen supporter of the Miami Dolphins since 1983. Chris first encountered the CFL in 2016 and instantly fell in love with the Canadian game. He has been writing about the CFL 2017. Chris has a degree in history, postgraduate degree in librarianship and can be found on twitter as @CFLfanUK