Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Lions history by the numbers: 80-71
By Michael Rothstein
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. 80-71. Most of the numbers came from research on the Detroit Lions website, record books, Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN Stats & Information.
80: Barry Sanders, as he has done against so many teams, broke a major run against the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 23, 1997. The 80-yard scamper for a touchdown was part of a 216-yard game for Sanders. It was the fourth time in Sanders' career he rushed for 200 yards or more.
79: Earl Morrall bounced around with a lot of teams throughout his career -- six during an era in which free agency didn't exist. Morrall was a Lion for at least part of seven seasons and was one of the players included in the Bobby Layne trade in 1958 with Pittsburgh. Morrall died in April at the age of 79.
78: Quarterback Tobin Rote found receiver Jim Doran for a 78-yard touchdown pass during the 1957 championship game for the Lions, the last title the franchise would win. Rote's third quarter touchdown to Doran gave the Lions' a 38-14 lead over Cleveland, essentially sealing the 59-14 win for Detroit. Rote's play may have factored into the the Lions' reasoning in trading Bobby Layne to Pittsburgh the following season.
77: Yards Shawn Bryson ran for a touchdown against Baltimore on Oct. 9, 2005 -- one of four the Lions scored against the Ravens during a 35-17 win that day. At the time, the four rushing touchdowns by Detroit were the most allowed by Baltimore in a single game in its history.
76: Barry Sanders had 76 100-yard rushing games during his 10-year career with the Lions. His first came on Sept. 24, 1989, against Chicago, when he broke an almost three-year 100-yard rushing drought for the Lions with a 126-yard performance. His last came on Dec. 6, 1998, when he had 102 yards at Jacksonville.
75: Lomas Brown wore this number from 1985 to 1995 and is considered one of the best offensive tackles in Detroit Lions’ history. He was a six-time Pro Bowler in his 11 seasons with Detroit.
74: Games played by the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, an annual tradition for the franchise. Detroit is 34-38-2 in those games and have played Green Bay 21 times on Thanksgiving -- more than any other franchise. Second-most is Chicago, the team the Lions face this season on Thanksgiving.
73: The longest reception of the 2011 season for Calvin Johnson -- the only time the receiver has appeared in the playoffs. The catch came against the Chicago Bears on Oct. 10, 2011, on "Monday Night Football" in a 24-13 Lions win. Johnson had five catches for 130 yards in the game as the Lions won their fifth straight game to start that year.
72: Completed passes by Erik Kramer for the Lions in the playoffs, a team record. Kramer's completions came in four playoff games -- including a 29-of-38, 341-yard, three touchdown performance in the Lions' lone playoff win over Dallas on Jan. 5, 1992.
71: Losses for Wayne Fontes in his Detroit Lions coaching career -- most by any coach in the franchise (67 regular-season losses, 4 postseason losses) . Of course, he also holds the record for most wins in franchise history (67 -- 66 regular season and 1 postseason) and most games coached in franchise history (138). Considering the ineptitude of the team, it makes sense Fontes would hold all three records.