On Sunday night, the Detroit Lions secured a NFL playoff win against the Los Angeles Rams with a final score of 24-23.
It wasn’t your typical wild card round matchup, however. This Lions vs Rams game at Ford Field marked the first playoff victory since 1991.
On top of that, the Lions and Rams swapped quarterbacks two seasons ago, adding an exciting hint of rivalry to the game that broke the longest losing streak in NFL playoff history.
Are the Lions in the playoffs?
The Lions are in the NFL playoffs for the 2023 season. They entered as the No. 3 seed after securing the top spot in the NFC North, and their matchup against the Rams marked their first playoff win at home in over three decades.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff led the team to victory after a nail-biter of a game that had the Lions ahead 21-17 after the first half. Goff has been vocal about his frustration with a surprising trade from the Rams that brought him to the Lions in 2021, which made this victory particularly satisfying for the QB.
After an injury in a game against the Minnesota Vikings the previous week, All-Pro rookie tight end Sam LaPorta was able to return to the field for the game against the Rams — much to the relief of Lions coach Dan Campbell. He ended up scoring an important touchdown in the second quarter of Sunday’s matchup.
With only three points added to the Lions’ total in the second half from a field goal by kicker Mike Badgley, they relied heavily on defense to maintain their lead toward the end of the game. Amon-Ra St. Brown secured a pass in the final seconds that allowed the lions to run out the clock and secure a win.
Matthew Stafford, the former quarterback for the Lions, returned to Detroit for the wild card playoff as the Rams’ QB. Though his performance was solid, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lions defense. Ironically, Stafford was the quarterback that the Lions traded for Jared Goff in 2021.
One player from the Rams did have a banner night. Rookie Puka Nacua netted nine catches and a touchdown. He also broke the rookie record for a postseason game with a total of 181 yards.
Lions fans were full of excitement at the home playoff game. Ford Field hosted a sold out crowd, and fans were seen crying in the stands during the final minute of the game as their team broke a 32-season streak without a playoff win.
Who do the Lions play in the wild card?
Following their win over the Rams on Sunday night, the Lions will play the winner of the “Monday Night Football” game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That game will take place next week on Sunday, January 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
Detroit Lions playoffs history
The Lions have not been one of the luckier NFL teams when it comes to the playoffs. Their history with the postseason has been a struggle, but this year could mark a turning point for the franchise.
When was the last time the Detroit Lions won a playoff game?
The Lions’ last playoff win was against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1991 divisional round. The game was held on Sunday, January 5, 1992 and the Lions defeated the Cowboys 38-6 following a regular season record of 12-4.
That game marked their first playoff win since 1957, however, demonstrating that the Lions haven’t had much luck in the postseason historically. The win over the Dallas Cowboys was followed by a crushing 41-10 loss to the Washington Redskins in the NFC Championship Game, then a disappointing 1992 season that ended with a record of 5-11.
A lot has changed since the team’s last playoff win. The Lions’ current stadium, Ford Field, didn’t even exist yet. The game was held at the Pontiac Silverdome, which was home to the Lions from 1975 to 2001. Back in the 1991 season, iconic players like Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith were the stars of the Lions franchise.
Want to put the Lions’ streak without a playoffs win into perspective? At the time of their win in 1991:
- DVDs, text messages, and Google hadn’t been invented yet.
- The L.A. riots and the O.J. Simpson trial hadn’t happened yet.
- The Soviet Union had been dissolved just 10 days prior.
- The top movie at the box office was “Hook.”
- The No. 1 song in the U.S. was “Black or White” by Michael Jackson.
Another striking way to consider this streak is that a baby born on the day of the last Lions’ playoff win is now a 32-year-old adult. Even more unbelievable is the fact that a Lions’ fan born in 1958 would be 65 or 66 years old and, until yesterday, had only ever seen one Lion’s playoff win in their lifetime!
Have the Detroit Lions been to the NFL playoffs?
The Detroit Lions have been to the playoffs a number of times since the team was originally founded in 1934. Until last night’s game, it had been 32 years since their most recent playoff win and seven years since their last playoff appearance.
What is the Detroit Lions’ playoff record?
The Detroit Lions have played in 21 playoff games since 1934. Their playoff record is 13-8.
The playoffs have served as a massive barrier to the Lions for over six decades. Out of their eight playoff wins in franchise history, six occurred between 1935 and 1957 prior to the AFL-NFL merger.
How many Super Bowls have the Lions won?
The Lions have never won the Super Bowl. In fact, they are the only franchise that has been operational since the Super Bowl was established to have never appeared in the Super Bowl.
Prior to the AFL-NFL merger, the Lions won four NFL Championship Games in 1935, 1952, 1953 and 1957.
2023 NFL playoffs
The Lions still have a shot at making their first-ever Super Bowl appearance. Here’s the schedule for the remainder of the NFL playoffs along with a look at the Lions’ competition.
Who won the championship for each division?
The following teams were able to clinch their divisions within the National and American Football Conferences:
- NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
- NFC North: Detroit Lions
- NFC South: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- NFC West: San Francisco 49ers
- AFC East: Buffalo Bills
- AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
- AFC South: Houston Texans
- AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs
A number of teams on the cusp of making the playoffs, including the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, and Jacksonville Jaguars, were knocked out near the end of the season.
Which teams are playing in the wild card round?
For the NFC wild card round, two games already took place over the weekend:
- The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 48-32.
- The Detroit Lions beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-23.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off Monday night, and the San Francisco 49ers have a bye week.
Two AFC wild card round games over the weekend had the following outcomes:
- The Houston Texans beat the Cleveland Browns 45-14.
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 26-7.
The Pittsburgh Steelers face off against the Buffalo Bills on Monday night, and the Baltimore Ravens have a bye week.
What is the NFL playoffs schedule?
The NFL playoffs advance to the divisional round next weekend, with games scheduled for Saturday, January 20 and Sunday, January 21.
The AFC and NFC Championship Games will be held on Sunday, January 28 to determine the winner of each conference. The Super Bowl LVIII is scheduled for Sunday, February 11, 2024.