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.