Historical look: 0-3 to playoffs

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
4:00
PM ET
Going from 0-3 to the playoffs is not easy -- only three teams have done so since 1990. It's something the Washington Redskins are trying to do now. Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information, here's a look at how those teams, plus the only other two teams in history to start 0-3 and make the postseason (note: All of this was written by the S&I folks):

1981 Jets: Finished 10-5-1, lost in AFC wild card playoffs

Through three weeks, the Jets had allowed an NFL-worst 100 points and were also last in yards allowed at 431.3 per game. But the defense buckled down, holding each of its last 13 opponents under 30 points and forcing 33 turnovers in that span.

1982 Buccaneers: Finished 5-4, lost in 1st round of NFC playoffs

The Buccaneers owe their postseason appearance mostly to a 57-day players’ strike which shortened the regular season to 9 games, resulting in a 16-team postseason tournament. The Buccaneers were the 7th seed in the NFC at time when only five teams from each conference reached the postseason under normal circumstances.

1992 Chargers: Finished 11-5, lost in AFC divisional playoffs

If things weren’t bad enough after an 0-3 start, a 27-0 loss to the Oilers in Week 4 dropped the Chargers to 0-4 (they’re the only 0-4 team in NFL history to reach the postseason). But San Diego won 11 of its final 12 games to win the AFC West and beat the Chiefs in the wild card playoffs, making them the only team in NFL history to win a playoff game after an 0-3 start.

1995 Lions: Finished 10-6, lost in NFC wild card playoffs

The Lions were able to rebound from an 0-3 start thanks to Herman Moore, who averaged over 108 receiving yards and nearly 8 catches per game as Detroit went 10-3 down the stretch. Moore finished the season with 123 receptions, then an NFL record, and teammate Brett Perriman had 108 catches, making the duo the first teammates in NFL history with 100 receptions in a season.

1998 Bills: Finished 10-6, lost in AFC Wild Card Playoffs

Rob Johnson was under center as the Bills lost their first 3 games of the season by a combined 9 points. But Doug Flutie came off the bench to replace an injured Johnson during a Week 6 win at the Colts and never relinquished the starting role, leading Buffalo to a 7-3 record in his 10 starts. Flutie, who hadn’t played in the NFL since 1989, was named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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