1994 Detroit Lions season
|1994 Detroit Lions season|
|Head coach||Wayne Fontes|
|General manager||Chuck Schmidt|
|Owner||William Clay Ford, Sr.|
|Home field||Pontiac Silverdome|
|Division place||3rd NFC Central|
|Playoff finish||Lost NFC Wild Card Game (Packers) 16–12|
The 1994 Detroit Lions season was the 65th season in franchise history. It marked the Lions second consecutive playoff appearance. Despite the signing of Scott Mitchell from Miami in the offseason, the Lions would end up making the playoffs with Dave Krieg as the starting quarterback. For the second consecutive year, the Lions lost in the playoffs to the Green Bay Packers.
|1994 Detroit Lions draft|
|1||21||Johnnie Morton||Wide receiver||USC|
|3||93||Shane Bonham||Defensive tackle||Tennessee|
|7||215||Tom Beer||Linebacker||Saginaw Valley State|
|1994 Detroit Lions staff|
| Front office
| Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
Strength and conditioning
|1||September 4, 1994||Atlanta Falcons||W 31–28 OT||
|2||September 11, 1994||at Minnesota Vikings||L 10–3||
|3||September 19, 1994||at Dallas Cowboys||W 20–17 OT||
|4||September 25, 1994||New England Patriots||L 23–17||
|5||October 2, 1994||at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 24–14||
|6||October 9, 1994||San Francisco 49ers||L 27–21||
|8||October 23, 1994||Chicago Bears||W 21–16||
|9||October 30, 1994||at New York Giants||W 28–25 OT||
|10||November 6, 1994||at Green Bay Packers||L 38–30||
|11||November 13, 1994||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 14–9||
|12||November 20, 1994||at Chicago Bears||L 20–10||
|13||November 24, 1994||Buffalo Bills||W 35–21||
|14||December 4, 1994||Green Bay Packers||W 34–31||
|15||December 10, 1994||at New York Jets||W 18–7||
|16||December 17, 1994||Minnesota Vikings||W 41–19||
|17||December 25, 1994||at Miami Dolphins||L 27–20||
Week 1 vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Lions opened the 1994 season by hosting the Falcons, who were no longer with the services of defensive back Deion Sanders, now with San Francisco. Scott Mitchell and Jeff George erupted in the second half, combining for six touchdowns as the game lead tied or changed six times. In overtime the Lions drove down for Jason Hanson's winning field goal and a 31-28 final.
Week 2 at Minnesota Vikings
Defense was the story as the two teams combined for just 501 yards of offense, four fumbles, two interceptions, 147 yards of penalties, and a 10-3 Vikings win.
Week 3 at Dallas Cowboys
Barry Sanders accounted for 194 of the Lions' 379 total yards of offense, while the Cowboys fumbled away the ball three times.
Week 4 vs. New England Patriots
Two Scott Mitchell interceptions proved decisive as the Patriots held on to win 23-17, despite 131 yards and two scores by Barry Sanders, highlighted when he outmaneuvered Harlon Barnett and Myron Guyton on one score; the NFL Films slow-motion clip of the score is the most replayed highlight in retrospectives on Sanders' career.
Week 5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Scott Mitchell and Derrick Moore rushing touchdowns were the only offense the Lions could generate as the Bucs held on to a 24-14 win.
Week 6 vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Lions suffered their third straight loss despite racing to a 14-0 lead; they sacked Steve Young and Young, suffering a pinched nerve, writhed in pain, his face turning red. He managed to limp to the sidelines; Elvis Grbac came in for one play (an incomplete pass) before Young recovered enough to come back in and lead the Niners to four touchdown drives (marred by a missed PAT) for the 27-21 Niners win.
Week 8 vs. Chicago Bears
Despite giving up 400 yards of offense (and giving up two fumbles and a pick) and managing just 232 of their own (167 of them from Barry Sanders), the Lions intercepted Erik Kramer three times and Mel Gray's 102-yard kickoff return was decisive in a 21-16 Lions win.
Week 9 at New York Giants
After the Lions forced a safety in the first quarter, the game lead tied or changed five times as Barry Sanders rushed for 146 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards. Scott Mitchell was intercepted three times but managed two touchdowns, the last to Herman Moore in the fourth quarter. Dave Meggett's 56-yard punt return and Aaron Pierce's seven-yard catch in the fourth forced overtime, won 28-25 by the Lions on a 24-yard kick by Jason Hanson.
Week 10 at Green Bay Packers
The Lions fumbled three times and Scott Mitchell was benched after throwing two picks; Dave Krieg threw three touchdowns but the Lions could not overcome a 24-0 gap, falling 38-30.
Week 11 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Barry Sanders exploded to 237 rushing yards as the Lions held the Bucs to three field goals, winning 14-9.
Week 12 at Chicago Bears
The Lions scored 10 points in the second quarter but that was all they could muster as the Bears outgained them in yards 338-180 and scored ten second-half points to win 20-10.
Week 13 Thanksgiving vs. Buffalo Bills
Dave Krieg started and the Lions passing attack erupted to 351 yards and three touchdowns. The Bills fell behind 21-7 but clawed to within 28-21 in the fourth quarter, but Jim Kelly was intercepted by Willie Clay and Clay ran back the 28-yard touchdown that clinched the win for the Lions 35-21. Barry Sanders managed only 45 rushing yards and one touchdown. A glorious Thanksgiving Day for the Lions.
Week 14 vs. Green Bay Packers
The Lions and Packers squared off in a highly competitive contest as the game lead tied once and changed six times following the first quarter and a 14-3 Packers lead. Barry Sanders broke out 188 rushing yards and a touchdown while Dave Krieg managed 196 passing yards and two touchdowns. Brett Favre had three touchdowns but was picked off twice as the Lions rallied to win 34-31.
Week 15 at New York Jets
The post-November collapse of the 1994 Jets continued as Jason Hanson booted four field goals yet missed the PAT on a Barry Sanders touchdown catch. The Jets managed just 261 yards of offense and a Brad Baxter touchdown as the Lions won 18-7.
Week 16 vs. Minnesota Vikings
The four-way showdown for the NFC Central title took another twist as the Lions crushed the Vikings 41-19. The Lions needed only 284 yards of offense as Barry Sanders accounted for two touchdowns and Dave Krieg added a pair of scoring tosses. Warren Moon managed one touchdown and one pick and was replaced by Brad Johnson, but it couldn't help the Vikings overcome ten penalties for 98 yards.
Week 17 Christmas at Miami Dolphins
On Sunday Night Football both teams were locked in neck-and-neck divisional races; with the Patriots beating the Bears and the Packers downing the Buccaneers the day before, and the Vikings to face the 49ers on Monday Night, both teams had motive to win. It would not happen for the Lions as Dave Krieg was intercepted twice and Barry Sanders was held to 52 yards. Bernie Parmalee had 39 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Dolphins won 27-20, winning the AFC East while the Lions made the playoffs as the NFC's fifth seed.
|(3) Minnesota Vikings||10||6||0||.625||356||314||W1|
|(4) Green Bay Packers||9||7||0||.563||382||287||W3|
|(5) Detroit Lions||9||7||0||.563||357||342||L1|
|(6) Chicago Bears||9||7||0||.563||271||307||L1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6||10||0||.375||251||351||L1|
NFC Wild Card Game: At Green Bay Packers
The Packers defense held Lions running back Barry Sanders to −1 rushing yards while holding Brett Perriman to −4 rushing yards. The Lions managed just 171 total yards of offense, with 199 yards passing from Dave Krieg, but he was sacked 4 times, resulting in 28 yards loss.
Awards and honors
- Barry Sanders, All-Pro
- Barry Sanders, NFC Pro Bowl Selection
- Barry Sanders, NFL Offensive Player of the Year
- Barry Sanders, Club Record, Most Rushing Yards in One Game, 237 yards, November 13.
- Barry Sanders, 6th consecutive 1000 yard season