The Detroit Lions may be one of the most unsuccessful franchises in NFL history when it comes to winning, but at least they have had some pretty good individual players along the way.
Those players have set some records and are still in the process of setting some records that will stand for a long time, maybe even forever.
Here is our list of the top 12 unbreakable offensive records in Detroit Lions history.
12 – Passing yards in a game – Matthew Stafford
On January 1st, 2012, Matthew Stafford set the Detroit Lions single-game passing record by tossing for 520 yards against the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, the Lions lost the game 45-41.
11 – Receiving yards in a game – Calvin Johnson
On October 27th, 2013, Calvin Johnson was absolutely unstoppable as he racked up 329 receiving yards against the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions needed every single one of those yards as they defeated the Cowboys 31-30.
10 – Touchdown passes in a career – Matthew Stafford
Through the 2019 season, Matthew Stafford has thrown 256 career touchdown passes. That number may not seem off the charts, but by the time he is finished with his career, it will likely be a number that will stand for quite some time. This will especially be true if Stafford lives up to what many thought he would become when he was drafted.
9 – Pass completions in a career – Matthew Stafford
Through the 2019 season, Matthew Stafford had already completed 3,559 passes in his career. This is obviously an ongoing record, but assuming that Stafford continues to play for the Lions and pass at the rate he has, this is a record that will not be broken for a long time.
8 – Pass attempts/completions in a season – Matthew Stafford
To say the Lions were “pass-happy” in 2012 would be an understatement. That year, Matthew Stafford attempted 727 passes, an NFL single-season record. Of those 727 passes, Stafford completed 435 which ranks No. 1 on the Detroit Lions all-time list.
7 – Passing yards in a career – Matthew Stafford
Once again, this is a record that is still counting. Through the 2019 NFL season, Matthew Stafford had already thrown for 41,025 yards, good enough for tops on the all-time Lions list. Stafford will continue to pad this stat as long as he is a member of the Lions. Hopefully, he can start racking up some yards in the playoffs too!
6 – Rushing yards in a season – Barry Sanders
1997 will go down as one of the most memorable Detroit Lions seasons ever. Not because they were a great team (finished 9-7) but because Barry Sanders rushed for a Lions record 2,053 yards. Sanders was virtually unstoppable that season and his record will likely stand for a long time.
5 – Rushing touchdowns in a career – Barry Sanders
During his Hall of Fame career, Barry Sanders managed to score 99 touchdowns, more than double the next closest Lion on the list (Billy Sims with 42). This is a record that ranks 9th on the all-time NFL list and is a record that will be difficult to break, especially now that the NFL has switched to a pass-happy league and a league that likes to split carries between multiple running backs.
4 – Receiving touchdowns in a career – Calvin Johnson
This is where things started to get extremely difficult for me. Calvin Johnson, before retiring from the NFL, had 83 career touchdown receptions, 21 more than Herman Moore who finished his outstanding career with 62. If Johnson were to have continued playing, he would have surpassed 100 touchdowns. That being said, it is unlikely a Lions receiver will ever touch Megatron’s record of 83 touchdowns.
3 – Receiving yards in a career – Calvin Johnson
In his career, which lasted just nine seasons, Calvin Johnson had 11,619 receiving yards. That number will stand for some time in the Lions record books. Just imagine how many yards he could have accumulated had he played another 3 or 4 years.
2 – Receiving yards in a season – Calvin Johnson
In 2012, Calvin Johnson set the NFL record with 1,964 receiving yards in a single season. He had a total of 122 receptions that season and was absolutely a man amongst boys. Johnson broke the previous record of 1,848 yards, which was held by Jerry Rice, by 116 yards.
1 – Rushing yards in a career – Barry Sanders
There is no question that Barry Sanders’ 15,269 career rushing yards is the most unbreakable Detroit Lions offensive record. Like I said earlier, this is a pass-happy league and more and more teams are going with the running back by committee approach which limits rushing attempts by an individual player. If things ever switch back to how they used to be it could be a different story, but either way, this is a record that will stand for a long time.