- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
We'll be looking at the history of the Detroit Lions from a little bit different perspective -- history through the numbers. Each weekday will feature a set of numbers counting down from 100.
The series continues with Nos. 20-11. Most of the numbers came from research on the Detroit Lions website, record books, Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN Stats & Information.
20: The jersey number of one of the top running backs of all-time, Barry Sanders played in 153 games, rushing for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns. He also caught 352 passes for 2,921 yards and 10 touchdowns before retiring prior to the 1999 season. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards every year he was in the league and gained 2,053 yards in 1997.
19: Interceptions thrown by Erik Kramer during his Lions career, the fewest by any Detroit quarterback with at least 500 attempts. He is one of two quarterbacks with more than 500 attempts for the Lions to throw fewer than 30 career picks, joined by Chuck Long, who had 28.
18: Playoff games in Detroit Lions’ history, including the pre-Super Bowl era. In all, the Lions are 7-11 in the playoffs with a 5-1 record at home and a 2-10 record on the road. Since 1957, the Lions only have one win in the postseason.
17: Points scored by the Lions in their NFL championship wins in both 1952 and 1953 -- both against the Cleveland Browns. The Lions beat Cleveland 17-7 at Municipal Stadium on Dec. 28, 1952 to win the franchise’s second title and then 17-16 at Briggs (Tiger) Stadium the following year on Dec. 27, 1953 to win their third title. They would reach two more title games -- in 1954 and 1957 -- with the team's last title coming against Cleveland in a 59-14 win in 1957. All four of the Lions' championship appearances in the 1950s came against Cleveland.
16: Touchdowns Barry Sanders scored in 1991, the most he had in a single year in his career. Sanders has seven of the top 10 rushing touchdown seasons in Lions history, but none was more impressive, scoring-wise, than 1991. It was the same season the Lions won their only playoff game during the Super Bowl era. Sixteen is also the single-season receiving touchdowns record -- set by Calvin Johnson in 2011.
15: Catches by Seattle wide receiver Steve Largent and Dallas tight end Jason Witten -- the most ever by an opponent against the Lions in a game. The games happened a little over two decades apart. Largent caught his passes from Jeff Kemp, part of a 15-catch, 261-yard, three touchdown day for the Seahawks legend on Oct. 18, 1987. The 261 yards is the second-most allowed in Lions history. Witten had 15 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown against the Lions on Dec. 9, 2007.
14: Punts by Carl Kinscherf of the New York Giants on Nov. 7, 1943, the most by an opponent against Detroit. Those 14 kicks came in a 0-0 tie. At the time, the amount of punts tied an NFL record that has since been broken.
13: Franchises without a Super Bowl title, of which the Lions are one. The Lions are one of four franchises, along with Cleveland, Houston and Jacksonville, without a Super Bowl appearance.
12: Most wins in franchise history, set during the 1991 season. It is also the last year the Lions won a playoff game and the only time the team has played in a conference championship game during the Super Bowl era.
11: Sacks allowed by the Detroit Lions in 2003, a franchise record. Joey Harrington was sacked by opponents nine times and Mike McMahon was touched by opponents twice. The protection didn’t matter much as the Lions finished 5-11.