To be a Detroit Lions fan for any length of time has been to mostly suffer. No championships since 1957. No playoff wins since the 1991 season. No division titles since 1993, which has become well-known all-around over the past week.
It boiled down to a simple scenario for the Lions in Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, Win, and clinch the NFC North while taking another step toward possibly being the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.
It wasn't always easy, but the Lions got it done, beating the Vikings 30-24. Division title drought? Over. Playoff drought (since 2016)? Over. It was also their first win in Minnesota in six years.
The Lions will also, of course with the division title win, host their first playoff game at Ford Field.
If the Detroit Lions had a formula for a division clinching win, Sunday was it
Much as they did in Week 15 against the Denver Broncos, the Lions checked a lot (if not all) of their "winning" boxes on Sunday.
Jared Goff was sacked once, and otherwise hardly pressured or hit. Goff also had zero interceptions or turnovers, with a close call where his arm was clearly moving forward to negate a sack-fumble the Vikings returned for a touchdown.
Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery combined for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries. Gibbs had a fumble, but he also had four catches for 20 yards.
Vikings' quarterback Nick Mullens was helpful for his part with some questionable decision making, but the Lions had four interceptions and four sacks on Sunday, For a defense that has had far two few of both of those things this season, it was a welcome surge in impactful plays.
The Lions have won 11 games for just the fourth time in team history.