Detroit Lions: Luther Elliss

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Luther Elliss is like the vast majority of talented Detroit Lions players throughout the years. As long as he played with the Lions, all of the individual accolades he had meant little when it came to team successes.

This is why it was a little stunning to hear Elliss, standing off to the side as this incarnation of the Lions practiced Monday morning, making some fairly bold predictions for this season’s team.

“For surely, double digits. Wins,” Elliss said. “And we’ll go, at least, for surely, second round. You guys all [have to] remember, even when I was here, I was always very optimistic. Even in the old days.”

To clarify, there was a follow-up to make sure he meant what he initially said – that the Lions, with one playoff win in the Super Bowl era, would be playing at least until the middle of January. Was he really predicting this?

“I am, I am,” Ellis said. “This year I am predicting they are going to win their first playoff game in how many years. It’s before I got here.”

Elliss was with the Lions from 1995 to 2003 after being a first-round draft pick from Utah. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and made three playoff appearances with Detroit – all losses on the road.

So what makes this team different from those in the past? Elliss has looked at the talent and the coaching change and is pleased with what he has seen.

“You look at what we have, caliber-wise, and look at [coach Jim] Caldwell and what he’s doing and just the response that these guys have and the love they have for him and the staff here,” Elliss said. “That’s a good mixture for success and that’s something that you want and that’s kind of what you’re trying to strive for. Just to get that, right.

“The chemistry correct, right, mixing that little petri dish and all that kind of stuff, mixing it right. I think they have everything here to be successful. The question is whether they are going to continue to believe that they are who they are.”
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 begins today with Nos. 100-91. Most of the numbers came from research on the Detroit Lions web site, record books, and ESPN Stats & Information.

100: In 2012 Calvin Johnson was the first receiver in NFL history to have eight consecutive 100-yard receiving games. He capped this with a 225-yard performance against Atlanta, where he had exactly 100 yards after the catch.

99: Number of rushing touchdowns Barry Sanders scored in his career -- more than double the 42 rushing touchdowns from Billy Sims, who is No. 2 on the career list for the Lions. Sanders had 10 or more rushing touchdowns in six of his 10 seasons, including a career-high 16 rushing touchdowns in 1991.

98: Chicago quarterback Bill Wade hit receiver Bo Farrington on a 98-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter on Oct. 8, 1961 -- the longest pass play ever given up by the Lions. The Bears beat the Lions, 31-17.

97: The longest pass in Lions Thanksgiving history came in 1953, when Bobby Layne found Cloyce Box for a touchdown in the third quarter. It started a 27-point second-half comeback for Detroit that led to a 34-15 win over Green Bay. It was one of two catches for Box that day.

96: The longest rush in Detroit Lions history. Bob Hoernschemeyer took the ball 96 yards during the fourth quarter of a 49-14 Lions blowout of the New York Yanks on Nov. 23, 1950. The 96-yard rush was more than double his average yards per game (47.1) that season. (Source: Pro Football Reference)

95: Career sacks for Robert Porcher (95.5), a record. Porcher managed this over an 11-year Lions tenure from 1992 to 2003. Porcher has had 429 tackles in his career and made the Pro Bowl three times -- in 1997, 1999 and 2001.

94: The number worn by Luther Elliss, a former first-round pick by the Lions, from 1995 to 2003. Elliss played in 126 games for Detroit, starting 119 of them. Elliss had 27 sacks for the Lions in his time with the club as a defensive tackle.

93: The last time Detroit won a divisional title was in 1993. The Lions went 10-6 that season and won the NFC Central by one game over Minnesota and Green Bay. As the Lions know all too well, though, Detroit lost the wildcard playoff game that year at home to the Packers, 28-24, after Brett Favre’s pass to Sterling Sharpe with less than a minute remaining.

92: Bracy Walker returned a blocked Chicago field goal and returned it 92 yards on Sept. 12, 2004 to help the Lions beat the Bears, 20-16, snapping a 24-game road losing streak for the club.

91: Rushing attempts for Sanders in the NFL playoffs during his 10-year career. He also has the most career playoff rushing yards for the Lions with 386. His 91 attempts came in six career playoff games. In those games, he only had one 100-yard performance.