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On This Date in Sports November 11, 1990: Derrick Thomas Seven Sacks

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Playing in tribute of his fallen father, Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs, sets a record by recording seven sacks against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. However, it was the sack that Thomas failed to get that decided the game. In the final seconds, Dave Krieg escaped an eighth sack and found Paul Skansi in the end zone as time expired to give Seattle a 17-16 win.

Derrick Thomas was a New Year’s Baby in 1967 in Miami. The son of an Air Force Captain, Thomas was raised by his mother after his father Robert James Thomas was shot down flying a B-52 in a mission over Vietnam in 1970. In 1988, Thomas set headlines at Alabama establishing a record with 27 sacks. Highly sought after, Derrick Thomas was the fourth overall pick in the 1989 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. In what was one of the biggest draft classes in NFL history as four of the top five picks, Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, and Derrick Thomas ended up in the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.

Derrick Thomas did disappoint, earning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1989 with 75 tackles and ten sacks. Entering a Veteran’s Day matchup with their AFC West rival Seattle Seahawks, the Chiefs coached by Marty Schottenheimer held a record of 5-3, while the Seahawks led by Chuck Knox were struggling at 3-5. While Derrick Thomas was having the game of his life, the Chiefs offense could not get anything going. After a scoreless first quarter, the teams traded field goals in the second, with Kansas City holding a 6-3 lead at the half. The Seahawks took the lead in the third quarter when Jeff Chadwick reeled in a 54-yard pass from Dave Krieg. Nick Lowry added a third field goal for the Chiefs to make it 10-9. On the next series, the Chiefs regained the lead when Thomas jarred the ball loose from Krieg, allowing Dan Saleaumua to recover in the end zone to give Kansas City a 16-10 lead. Thomas continued his assault of Dave Krieg in the fourth quarter breaking the single-game record previously set by Fred Dean of the San Francisco 49ers in a game against the New Orleans Saints in 1983. However, the offensive failures of the Chiefs kept the Seahawks in the game. With time running out the Seahawks had one last play from the Chiefs 25-yard line to win the game. For a moment it appeared Thomas had Krieg wrapped up for his eighth sack, but the Seattle quarterback wiggled free and threw the ball to the end zone, where Paul Skansi came down with it. The Seahawks would win the game 17-16 as Norm Johnson booted the PAT in front of stunned Arrowhead crowd. It marked the first time the Seahawks won in Kansas City since 1980.