MIKE O'HARA

O'HARA: The only record Matthew Stafford is concerned with is the one held by his team

Posted Nov 5, 2013

Though Stafford is set to take multiple franchise records in the coming weeks, his only focus is on the Lions' won-lost column

It's the Lions' won-lost record that has Matthew Stafford's attention, not franchise records that are within his reach.

The Lions are in a three-way tie for first in the NFC North with the Bears and Packers. All are 5-3. With eight games left, beginning Sunday against the Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, the Lions are in position to win their first division title since 1993, when they topped the old NFC Central with a 10-6 record.

Coming off a bye week, Stafford's focus is more on starting the second half with a victory than the franchise quarterback records for consecutive starts and career passing yards held by Greg Landry and Bobby Layne.

"Every game counts, obviously," Stafford said Tuesday after the Lions' first practice since the bye. "They did in the first half, they will in the second half, and any time you have a division opponent or division game, it's a big one.

"This week is no different for us."

On Sunday Stafford will tie Landry's record of 41 straight starts, set from Game 9 of 1970 through Game 7 of '73.

Stafford can break Bobby Layne's career record for passing yards with a below-average game, based on his performance this season. Layne passed for 15,710 yards from 1950-58. Stafford has 15,424 yards in his career and needs 287 to break Layne's record.

In the first eight games, Stafford passed for 2,617 yards, an average of 327 a game. He had 242 with one touchdown and an interception in a 40-32 win over the Bears in Game 4 at Ford Field.

Stafford and Layne both went to Highland Park High in Metro Dallas. Layne set the standard for leadership, toughness and winning in his nine seasons with the Lions.

Matthew StaffordPHOTO: G. Smith/Detroit Lions

He quarterbacked two NFL championship teams and led the Lions to a third, in 1957, but went down late in the season with a broken leg. Tobin Rote was the quarterback when the Lions beat the Browns in the championship game.

Layne accumulated his yards in 97 games as a Lion. Stafford has gotten his yards in 53 games.

Stafford isn't diminishing the accomplishment of breaking any record, either Landry's or the one held by Layne, a legendary sports figure in Detroit and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"Obviously, anytime you break a record it's a humbling experience," Stafford said. "It's not something that I'm setting out to do every time I go out to a game or whatever it is. It's not like I'm going out there to try and break records.

"I'm trying to win a game. I have a lot of respect for the history of this game and this franchise too, it's something that when and if it happens, I'm sure I'll reflect on it after the fact.”