Lions’ paucity of 100-yard games stretches back to Barry Sanders’ retirement

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The Lions have now gone more than four years without a single player gaining 100 rushing yards in a game. But their problem running the football goes back a lot further than four years.

In fact, it goes all the way back to the retirement of Barry Sanders before the 1999 season: In Sanders’ career, he played 153 games and ran for 100 or more yards 76 times. Sunday the Lions will play their 300th regular-season game since Sanders retired, and they’ve had a grand total of 28 games in which someone ran for 100 yards.

Sanders never had fewer than four 100-yard rushing games in any of his 10 NFL seasons. Since Sanders retired, the Lions have never had more than four 100-yard rushing games in any of their 18 seasons.

The Lions got one 100-yard game (from Greg Hill) in the first year after Sanders retired, 1999. In 2000 they signed running back James Stewart, who totaled seven 100-yard games in three years. Next they had Shawn Bryson, who ran for 100 yards once. Then they drafted Kevin Jones, who totaled seven 100-yard games in four years. The Lions then got T.J. Duckett, who ran for 100 yards once, Kevin Smith, who ran for 100 yards four times, Maurice Morris, who did it twice, Jahvid Best, who did it once, Mikel Leshoure, who did it once, and Reggie Bush, who had three 100-yard games in 2013.

Bush was the last Lion to run for 100 yards in a game. In the Sanders era it was commonplace, but now the Lions can go years at a time without anyone doing it.

22 responses to “Lions’ paucity of 100-yard games stretches back to Barry Sanders’ retirement

  1. When you have the most expensive QB in the league, you use him more than anyone else on the offense is the mindset.

  2. When you have the most expensive QB in the league, you use him more than anyone else on the offense is the mindset.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    You do realize that this is the first year that they had the most expensive QB in the league? It really hasn’t had much bearing on the history of this.

  3. .
    The Lions have a very subpar drafting record. Plus, they have never placed a high value on the offensive line. Second year GM Bob Quinn is trying to change that culture.
    .

  4. I am sorry, but isn’t this commonplace in the league since they changed the defensive rules and it became a pass happy league? Running is down and there has been record passing yards by even average QB’s!

  5. Stafford is in the last year of his original extension and at 16 million (or thereabouts), is nowhere near the highest paid player at his position. He still won’t be the highest paid player at his position next year, either. Technically speaking, it is over the lifetime of his new deal that averages out to 27 million annually, which would make him the highest paid player at his position. Thus, his actual salary next year will not be 27 million. And, if he gets cut or suffers a major injury, he will never see the back end of that money, and won’t average 27 million in annual salary.

    Whatever.

    Due to the complete inability of the front office to field a competent coaching staff with solid, blue-chip NFL talent around him, at it’s current trajectory, his career is going the way of Dan Marino’s; all of the numbers, but none of the glory. Dan did make it to the big show however. Stafford, most likely, will never be able to say that….

  6. Even with Barry the Lions run game was sketchy. He would have a 200 or near game, then have a 47 yard game. For some reasons the Lions just cant get an o-line, RB and OC all at the same time. Some teams can be productive running the ball with any back, or even losing a lineman or two, the Lions are cursed!

  7. “Stafford is in the last year of his original extension”

    First year of new extension, you mean, as the highest paid player in the NFL.

  8. 26predator says:
    December 2, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Due to the complete inability of the front office to field a competent coaching staff with solid, blue-chip NFL talent around him, at it’s current trajectory, his career is going the way of Dan Marino’s; all of the numbers, but none of the glory. Dan did make it to the big show however. Stafford, most likely, will never be able to say that…
    __________________________________________

    The front office in Detroit changed considerably last year that trajectory has changed some and should continue to. Stafford is 29 there’s reason to believe he may get to the big show before he calls it a career.

  9. The Fords have been forcing the pass-first offense for years now. It’s what sells tickets & merch to the fairweather fans.

    Years of west coast offenses, pass happy GMs, coaches, offensive coordinators, etc. Two first round TEs, a laughing stock of first round WRs. All designed to try and replicate the greatest show on turf.

    The Lions will never be a good team with an ownership that dicates how a team is run on the field. They want to throw a ton and every move they’ve made in the past decade proves that. It’s not bad running backs, it’s bad management.

  10. The ultimate scapegoat Matt Millen was too weak of a GM to stick to his guns. He wanted Jammer & DeMarcus Ware over Harrington & Mike Williams but was overruled by ownership. This has been going on for years. Barry spoke out against bad management & so has Calvin. This franchise is a joke.

  11. Long time Lions fan here. The lack of a running game has really hindered the Lions. Stafford is the real deal, tough and can make all the throws. But the Lions are doing him no favors with over 30% of their rushing attempts go for 0 or negative yards! Other teams have no fear of the Lions run game, so dlinemen just pin their ears back and go after Stafford.

    This has been the story for years. The fact that Stafford has had ANY success despite having no balance in the offense is a testament to his abilities. Given him an even half way decent run game to take the pressure off him and look out!

  12. well abdullah wont be much help. if there isnt a hole as big as a mack truck for him to run through he falls down to avoid being hit hard. i dont know about you lions fans, as ive only caught a few of his games, but i think you gotta move on from this guy. its brutal to watch him constantly trying to avoid contact.

  13. whooligun, the “Greatest Show on Turf” was possible because defenses had to really respect the running game with Marshall Faulk. I do agree that The Lions have ignored this position way too long, and how much better would Stafford and the offense be with some balance.

    #OnePride

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