As the franchise’s 93rd season winds down, here are the five out of nowhere productive individual seasons in Detroit Lions history.
The Detroit Lions’ 2022 regular season is ending with a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Worst case, they finish 8-9 in Dan Campbell’s second season as head coach after going 3-13-1 in 2021 and starting this year 1-6.
The Lions have gotten an out of nowhere great season from rookie edge rusher James Houston, who has eight sacks in six games after a three-sack performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 17. Early expectations were not necessarily high for a raw sixth-round pick, but he has exceeded them and the future is bright.
A hat-tip here should also go to Jamaal Williams this season. With one game to go this season, he is one shy of tying Barry Sanders’ single-season franchise record for rushing touchdowns (16, in 1991). He is also a virtual lock, six yards shy with one game left, to become the Lions’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Reggie Bush in 2013.
The Lions have had Hall of Famers take the field for them, and (as any team does) plenty of non-descript players who had pop-up good seasons and were never really heard from like that again.
On that note, and with honorable mentions of Houston and Williams even though they won’t make the list, here are five random, out-of-nowhere productive individual seasons in Detroit Lions history.
5 out of nowhere productive individual seasons in Detroit Lions history
5. TE Joseph Fauria
Fauria did not have nearly as long a NFL career as his uncle Christian did, playing just two seasons–both with the Lions as it were.
As a rookie in 2013, Fauria had 18 catches for 207 yards and seven touchdowns. That touchdown mark was second on the team, behind only Calvin Johnson..
Fauria’s random seven-touchdown rookie season feels a lot like what the Lions have gotten from their tight ends this year. Shane Zylstra and Brock Wright have led the way to a franchise single-season record for touchdowns by the position, despite the midseason trade of T.J. Hockenson.