On This Day: Detroit Lions dominate Cowboys in last playoff win

Lomas Brown, Detroit Lions (Photo by Betsy Peabody Rowe/Getty Images)
Lomas Brown, Detroit Lions (Photo by Betsy Peabody Rowe/Getty Images) /

On this day 30 years ago, the Detroit Lions got their most recent playoff victory with a win over the Dallas Cowboys.

The Detroit Lions haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, they’ve made the postseason just five times in the last 25 seasons. But over a five-season stretch from 1991-1995, under head coach Wayne Fontes, they made the playoffs four times with two division titles.

The Lions won the NFC Central with a 12-4 record in 1991. The earned a first-round playoff bye, and faced the then-upstart Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round. Dallas had gone from 1-15 in 1989, Jimmy Johnson’s first season as head coach, to 11-5 in his third season. They would go on to win three Super Bowls over the next four years after facing the Lions in the playoffs.

But on Jan. 5, 1992 at the Pontiac Silverdome, the Lions were the better team and won 38-6. With Rodney Peete out for the season, quarterback Erik Kramer threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns (two to Willie Green, one to Herman Moore). Barry Sanders had 99 total yards and a rushing score. The defense had two interceptions, including a pick-six from cornerback Mel Jenkins.

Remembering the Detroit Lions last playoff win

The Cowboys were gaining notice as a team on the rise, but during the game broadcast the legendary John Madden spoke highly of the Lions too (h/t to SI.com).

“You’re watching the two teams of the 90s. The Lions and the Cowboys. We will hear a lot from these two teams for awhile,” the late John Madden proclaimed on the broadcast.

After beating the Cowboys, the Lions traveled to take on Washington in the NFC Championship Game. The then-Redskins dominated and won 41-10, and they went on to beat the Buffalo Bills in Super XXVI.

That win over the Cowboys is the most recent playoff victory for the Lions. It’s also the franchise’s only playoff win since the 1957 NFL Championship Game. As head coach Dan Campbell looks to set the tone going forward, hopefully the playoff losing streak comes to an end at some point soon.