Which individual has rushed for most yards in a single National Football League?

For readers unfamiliar with the nitty-gritty of gridiron football, ‘rushing yards’ is a metric calculated by adding up the number of yards a player gains, or loses, when carrying the ball, without first catching a forward pass. If a player does catch a forward pass, any yardage gained, or lost, relative to the line of scrimmage – including the distance the ball travels in the air – is attributed to that player as ‘receiving yards’.

Anyway, in the history of the National Football League (NFL), which celebrated its centenary in 2019, the player who holds the record for the most yards gained rushing in a single game is former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Now 38 and, since January 17, 2022, a free agent, Peterson was playing just the eighth game of his professional career when, on November 4, 2007, he set the single-game rushing record against the San Diego Chargers at the now-demolished Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

On that occasion, Peterson made 30 carries, for a total of 296 yards – equivalent to the length of two and a quarter football fields – and scored three touchdowns. In the second half alone, he gained 253 yards and scored two touchdowns, thereby carrying the Vikings to a 35-17 victory, after they had trailed 14-7 at half-time. In so doing, he beat the previous record, 295 yards, set by Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis in a 33-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns at the Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio on September 14, 2003.

As a slightly bizarre footnote, on September 10, 2022, Peterson fought an exhibition boxing match, scheduled for five rounds, against former Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Bell won, by technical knockout, in the final round.

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