Lions rout Chargers to clinch playoff spotDETROIT — After a decade of losing, the Detroit Lions are in the playoffs.
By: Larry Lage, The Associated Press
DETROIT — After a decade of losing, the Detroit Lions are in the playoffs.
And they made sure the San Diego Chargers are out.
With their fans chanting “playoffs” for the final minutes, Detroit got there for the first time since 1999 as Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the first half to beat the Chargers 38-10 Saturday. The only team to lose all 16 games in a season (2008), the Lions (10-5) have won three straight after a seven-game slump to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs.
Following the game, coach Jim Schwartz and the players did a victory lap at Ford Field, high-fiving fans in the front row.
According to the Chargers (7-8), they will not be in the postseason for a second straight year after making it five times in a six-season stretch. And that might cost coach Norv Turner his job.
Knowing they could move into the postseason simply by winning, the Lions held San Diego scoreless until midway through the third quarter, when Philip Rivers threw an 11-yard pass to Malcom Floyd to make it 24-7.
Detroit, though, closed strong to restore the rout.
The Lions and the Buffalo Bills started the season with the league’s longest playoff droughts at 11 seasons. Detroit hasn’t been in the playoffs since Barry Sanders was its star running back and its drought is over because a decades-long search for a franchise quarterback ended with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. Coming off the league’s only 0-16 season, Detroit selected Stafford and kept him healthy for the first time this season.