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Original Issue

My One and Only

For these NFL stars, throwing a touchdown pass is a unique experience

Texans RB, 128 career games
TD Pass: Oct. 17, 2004
Versus Lions

HE WAS a Packer at the time, and Green Bay set the stage for his surprise pass attempt by repeatedly calling pitchouts early in the 38--10 win in Detroit. So when QB Brett Favre pitched to Green yet again with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and Green Bay up 31--10, Lions defenders came charging. "I saw a linebacker and a DB come in on me," Green (right) recalls. "I took my three steps like I was running the ball, then I pulled up."

WIDEOUT DONALD DRIVER was the planned target, and when Green saw the safety come underneath Driver, he tossed the ball into the end zone with faith in Driver's considerable hops. "I put it as high as possible," says Green, and Driver "did all the other work." The result was a 20-yard TD catch and the only completion of Green's NFL career. His one other pass attempt, in 2000 against the Colts, fell incomplete. "I did it in high school and in college [Nebraska]," says Green of completing a TD pass, "but when it happened [against the Lions], I was like, Sweet! It can't get better than that."

Saints RB, 83 career games
TD pass: Dec. 9, 2001
Versus Falcons

AS A ROOKIE backup to Ricky Williams, McAllister's touches were few. But in this game, a 28--10 win in Atlanta, he made the most of them. In the first quarter, with New Orleans trailing 7--0, the Saints were facing a second-and-10 at the Falcons' 12-yard line. Quarterback Aaron Brooks faked a handoff to the fullback, then pitched the ball to McAllister, who had the option to run or throw to wide receiver Willie Jackson. When the cornerback covering Jackson broke in, McAllister lofted the ball to the back of the end zone, where Jackson snatched it.

THE GAME became even more memorable for McAllister in the fourth quarter when he took a handoff on second-and-nine and ran 54 yards for his first NFL touchdown. McAllister (right) has scored plenty of those since but wants to repeat his passing heroics. "I'm trying to get [a halfback option] put back in," he says of working on coach Sean Payton, "but I haven't had a lot of success on that one."

Colts K, 175 career games
TD Pass: Nov. 7, 2004
Versus Rams

NEW ENGLAND, then Vinatieri's team, led St. Louis 19--14 in the third quarter when the Pats set up for a field goal at the Rams' four-yard line. But when St. Louis coach Mike Martz looked away, New England receiver Troy Brown lined up so wide, he was nearly out-of-bounds. As soon as Martz saw Brown—"Where was he going? To the john?" Martz said later—he tried to call timeout. Too late. Brown was left uncovered, and center Lonie Paxton quick-snapped the ball to Vinatieri (right, as a Pat), who sent a perfect spiral into Brown's arms.

THE 40--22 WIN included four Vinatieri field goals, but it was the TD ball he coveted. "[Brown] was going to keep it," says Vinatieri. "I told him, 'No way. You've got a lot of touchdown catches. This will probably be the only one I throw.'" Vinatieri hadn't thrown an NFL pass before that and hasn't thrown one since. "My quarterback rating is, like, 122," he says. "Hall of Fame numbers if I could throw another 8,000 completions."

Eagles RB, 71 career games
TD PASS: Sept. 22, 2002
Versus Cowboys

LIKE McALLISTER in New Orleans, Westbrook spent a lot of time on the bench as a rookie with Philadelphia, carrying only 46 times. So when he got the call for a halfback option in the third quarter, with the Eagles leading Dallas 27--10 in Philly, he says, "I was just excited about being in the game." Westbrook had executed the play in practice but says he "didn't think it was the kind of play coach [Andy] Reid would dial up."

COACH REID DIALED, and Westbrook answered the call, finding wide receiver Todd Pinkston 25 yards away in the end zone. "I faked the run to pull the defenders up, then just tried to get rid of the ball fast so those linebackers and safeties didn't tear me up," Westbrook remembers. "I'm not one to go crazy after touchdowns, but I was so excited I think I did a chest bump with Donovan [McNabb]. I'd never thrown a touchdown on any level." Now Westbrook craves another. "I know [the Chargers'] LaDainian Tomlinson has [seven] of them, so I have a long way to go."