Each day this week, we’ll look at one of the closer calls the Lions had during their 22-game losing streak in Wisconsin.
Date: Dec. 31, 1994
Score: Green Bay 16, Detroit 12
Records at the time: Packers (10-7), Lions (9-8)
What happened: Of all the losses in the state over the past two-plus decades for Detroit, this one might have been the cruelest.
Detroit had made the playoffs for the third time in four years, having lost to the Packers at home in the wild-card round the year before. And in this game on this winter day in Green Bay, the Lions couldn’t do anything on offense.
Running back Barry Sanders was held to minus-1 yards rushing on 13 carries and 3 yards of offense overall. The Lions were actually held to minus-4 yards rushing as a team against the Packers.
The rushing low remains a playoff record.
Yet despite all of that, Detroit almost won anyway. The Lions trailed 16-10 and were on the Packers 17-yard line with 1:51 left, facing a fourth-and-14, according to the Associated Press’ account of the game. Quarterback Dave Krieg threw the ball to Herman Moore in the back of the end zone but he came down out of bounds ensuring Green Bay’s win.
“I was out of bounds,” Moore told the AP after the game. “It’s not a lot of mystery as to what took place. It’s just a situation where you try to make a play and you just run out of room.”
Had Detroit won, it would have snapped this streak before it even really got going and would have advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs for the second time in four seasons.
The 1994 season was an interesting one in the then-NFC Central as well. Four of the five teams in the division made the playoffs. Detroit, Green Bay, Chicago and division champion Minnesota all got in and faced each other on the first weekend of games.
How the season finished: The Lions’ season ended in Lambeau. Green Bay’s season would end the next week in Dallas, being crushed by the Cowboys, 35-9.