2023 Lions have a great running game, but surprisingly not historic in terms of the Lions

In Seidel’s article this morning, he mentions that Jahmyr Gibbs is approaching a rookie mark held by Billy Sims and Mel Farr. As to the latter, Gibbs is sure to pass him as Farr had 860 yards rushing & 317 yards receiving where Gibbs already has 792 yards rushing & 296 yards receiving.

But then, I went and looked at Billy Sims rookie season. Wow. Easy to forget just how great Sims was.

In 16 games, Sims not only rushed for 1303 yards, but also has 621 yards receiving. Add in 13 TDs rushing and another 3 TDs receiving.

You might wonder, as I did, well, was Sims basically a one man show who got the ball all the time?

Answer: No.

The Lions amazingly had 2599 yards rushing that season. [The 2023 Lions have a gaudy 1973 yards rushing with 3 games to go, which compared to the Caldwell years when they never rushed for more than 1422 (in his 1st year 2015), is a rather amazing improvement]

Dexter Bussey had 145 carries for 720 yards, a 5.0 avg, and 3 TDs, plus another 364 yards receiving.

Gary Danielson had 48 carries for 232 yards & 2 TDs.

Rick Kane & Horace King combined for another 49 carries for 182 yards and 1 TD.



Lions are now No. 2 overall in rushing:

Detroit Lions

1st NFC North

| 10-4

  • Passing Yards


266.2 PYPG

  • Rushing Yards


140.9 RYPG

  • Total Yards Per Game


407.1 YPG

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good god 2599 yards rushing? how did they not win the super bowl? or at least sniff it? that’s ridiculously good running.

The Lions defense that year only gave up 1599 yards rushing & 9 rushing TDs.

The problem was that they missed the playoffs because they lost a lot of close games and finished only 9-7, tied with the Vikings, but must have lost on some down the road tiebreaker because head to head they both won one and had the same division record at 5-3.

The 2nd rushing offense in todays NFL with a QB who offers virtually nothing on the ground is very impressive.

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But they could have two 1000 yd RBs….how many teams have done that?

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Well let me answer my own question. It’s happened a few times in history. Miami with Czonka and Morris….Pittsburgh with Harris and Blier….Cleveland with Mack and Byner….the Giants with Jacobs and Ward….Carolina with Williams and Stewart. Now two other duos featured a RB and QB….Dunn and Vick, Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram

True, it would be an impressive feat, which has been done only 7 times in NFL history, with only two occurring during the 14 game era.

But, with a 17 game season, it’s a bit of a watered down accomplishment.

1000 yards in a 14 game season, meant 71.43 yards per game.

1000 yards in a 16 game season, meant 62.5 yards per game.

1000 yards in a 17 game season, means 58.82 yards per game.

To have an equivalent performance compared to 14 game standards would require two RBs to both have at least 1215 yards rushing each.

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Well I wouldn’t say watered down. I mean if it was then every team would have that. Now to say “They are the greatest tandem in NFL History” because they accomplished this in a 17 game season while duos that they would be compared to had 14/16 game seasons…well I certainly agree there because of the extra game(s)

Plus Montgomery won’t play 17 games this year

True, and neither will Gibbs.

And, Monty’s averaging 77.7 yards per game, which beats the 14 game average.

Gibbs is averaging 66 yard per game, better than the 16 game average.

“Another One Bites the Dust”…

Dare we?! :thinking:

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Broke my own rule there. But the question had to be answered.

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Did the 1000 yard rushers for the 14 game season play in all 14 though?

Morris and Czonka did

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Csonka & Morris, and Harris & Bleier, yes.

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Changed the title of the post because two 1000-yard RBs is rare no matter how you look at it.

The one thing that could happen, though, is if the Lions beat both the Vikings & Cowboys, but can’t do any better than the No. 3 seed, they might rest both Monty & Gibbs in game 17 and go with the Craig Reynolds show.

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Harris & Bleir started 14 of 14 games

Mack and Byner played in all 16 games

In 2008 Brandon Jacobs only played 13 games and went for 1089. Derrick Ward played in all 16 games and started the 3 games that Jacobs missed and went for 1025

The same exact scenario with the Giants in 2008 happened with the Panthers in 2009 with Williams and Stewart

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Right imagine Goff could even run a bit. Healthy Hooker would be interesting to see what the offense looked like

Man that team was good. If Kosar hadn’t have been a rookie that year, they may have gone farther.