Despite the loss on Saturday to the Atlanta Falcons, two Detroit Lions players broke records. Calvin Johnson set a new single-season record for receiving yards. Quarterback Matthew Stafford set a new franchise record for completions during the loss.
Stafford broke a Lions franchise record held by Bobby Layne with his 1075th completion. Stafford ended the night with 37 completions, and ran his franchise record up to 1090. Despite only being in the NFL for four years, Stafford is quickly moving up the record books in the Lions organization. This new record is one of many held by Stafford – the Lions starting quarterback also has the highest passing yards in a season, the three highest passing yards in a game and the three most pass completions in a season.
Stafford is fast approaching the Lions franchise record for career passing yards. Stafford heads into week 17 with 12,535 and will likely pass Scott Mitchell (12,647) in next week’s matchup with the Chicago Bears. Layne holds the Lions team record with 15,710 yards over his nine-year career.
Next week against the Bears, Stafford will attempt to set a NFL record. Stafford will break the record for pass attempts in a season with seven passes thrown. The previous record of 691 was held by Drew Bledsoe from the 1994 season. Stafford already holds the number three position on the list with 663 pass attempts in last year’s season.
It’s a weird coincidence that Layne and Stafford attended the same high school in Texas. Both quarterbacks went to Highland Park High School. Stafford also grew up on the same street that Layne once did. Stafford was taken by the Lions one year after the so called “Curse of Bobby Layne” ended: in 1958, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Layne said the Lions would not win for 50 years.
Could the curse of Bobby Layne finally be over? The Lions reached the playoffs last year and look to be a better team with Stafford, despite this year’s 4-11 record. During the years of the curse, the Lions have put together a 1-10 record in the playoffs. The Lions remain one of only two teams in the NFL prior to 1970 to not reach a Super Bowl.
Despite the criticism of his play, Stafford has been a good quarterback for the Lions organization. The former number one-overall pick is providing stability for a team that previously changed quarterbacks often during the season.