With Bengals' victory, Lions own NFL's longest drought without playoff victory

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

It's been three decades since the Detroit Lions have tasted a playoff victory, but until Sunday night, it wasn't the NFL's longest drought. With a 26-19 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in the Wild Card round, the Cincinnati Bengals ended their 31-year streak without a postseason win, pushing the Lions to the back of the line. 

By besting the Raiders, the Bengals also avoided matching Detroit's NFL record nine-game losing streak in the postseason. 

The last time the Lions won a playoff game Barry Sanders was still lining up in their backfield.

The Lions haven't won a playoff game since earning a bye and smashing the Dallas Cowboys, 38-6, at the Silverdome on Jan. 5, 1992. Detroit would resume the franchise's playoff ineptitude the following week, losing 41-10 to Washington, starting their current skid. 

It remains the Lions' only postseason win of the Super Bowl era. 

Following that pummeling at the hands of Washington, the Lions have lost eight wild-card games, including five more that decade. After failing to qualify for the playoffs the next dozen years, the team returned in 2011, only to be quickly dispatched by the New Orleans Saints, 45-28. 

The Lions nearly snapped the streak three years later, but coughed up a fourth-quarter lead against Dallas, following some officiating controversy, a shanked punt and the inability of the team's defense to get a late stop. 

Detroit last played in the postseason in 2017, failing to put up much of a fight on the road against Seattle in a 26-6 loss. 

And it might be a couple of years before they get another shot. The team finished with a 3-13-1 in 2021, the second worst in the NFL. Beyond the Lions, the next longest playoff drought belongs to the Miami Dolphins, who are at 21 years. The Raiders, who lost to the Bengals, sit at 19.