DETROIT — Jared Goff threw for a touchdown and completed a game-sealing first down against the team that cast him away, and the Detroit Lions won a playoff game for the first time in 32 years, beating Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams 24-23 on Sunday night.
The Lions (13-5) ended a nine-game postseason losing streak — the longest in NFL history — that dated to a victory over Dallas on Jan. 5, 1992.
They lost a home playoff game two years later and hadn’t hosted one since.
Detroit will have two home playoff games for the first time in franchise history, hosting either Tampa Bay or Philadelphia in the divisional round next Sunday.
The Rams (10-8) had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Detroit’s defense held. A holding penalty pushed Los Angeles out of field goal range, and Stafford — the Lions’ longtime quarterback who won a Super Bowl after he was traded to the Rams — threw incomplete on fourth down.
On the first play after the two-minute warning, Goff hit Amon-Ra St. Brown for 11 yards, allowing the Lions to run out the clock — much to the delight of long-suffering fans who witnessed the franchise’s second postseason victory since winning the 1957 NFL title.
Against the franchise he once led to the Super Bowl, Goff was 22 of 27 for 277 yards and threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Sam LaPorta to put Detroit ahead 21-10 midway through the second quarter. The Lions acquired Goff and a pair of first-round picks for Stafford three years ago.
Stafford, who played most of the game with a bandaged and bloody hand after he slammed it into a defender’s helmet, finished 25 of 36 for 367 yards with two touchdowns. Record-breaking rookie Puka Nacua had nine receptions for 181 yards.