Playoff berth could cement Lions' rep as comeback kids

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- After yet another thrilling comeback, Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz kept an even keel during his Monday news conference.

Turns out there was a reason for his detached demeanor.

"I'm just tired as hell," he said.

Schwartz and the Lions have a big week coming up after Sunday's 28-27 victory at Oakland. With a victory over the San Diego Chargers on Saturday, Detroit can clinch its first playoff berth since the 1999 season, which would be quite an accomplishment for a team that went 0-16 three seasons ago.

Less than 24 hours after the emotional victory, Schwartz already was downplaying it and looking forward.

"We need to beat the San Diego Chargers," Schwartz said. "We are not playing the out-of-town scoreboard. We are not playing anything other than the Chargers. The team does a good job of getting the focus each week, and that is what we need to go do this week. Everybody knows where we are. Everybody knows what is at stake."

After a 5-0 start, the Lions fell back a bit in the NFC playoff race, but two touchdowns in the final 4:59 on Sunday enabled them to erase a 27-14 deficit. Detroit is the first team since at least 1950 with four comeback wins in one season from deficits of 13 points or more, according to STATS, LLC.

On NFL Network
"NFL Replay" will re-air the Lions' 28-27 win over the Raiders on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

The Lions (9-5) won behind their three biggest young stars. Matthew Stafford threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns. Calvin Johnson caught nine passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, including the winner with 39 seconds left. Ndamukong Suh, quiet for most of the day in his return from a two-game NFL suspension, blocked Sebastian Janikowski's 65-yard field-goal attempt on the final play.

"I think that we have a good mix of older players, younger players and players that have had different experiences in the league," Schwartz said. "I think there's some confidence that comes from that experience. This is uncharted territory for this franchise for a long time, but there are a lot of guys in our locker room that playoff runs in December is not uncharted territory."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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