Barry Sanders Was Completely Flummoxed During Playoff Loss

Published on May 10th, 2024 6:10 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Neutralized on the Day - Barry Sanders - Detroit Lions. In 1994, Barry Sanders was 26 years-old and at the absolute peak of his career.

The 1994 season was a good one for Sanders and the Detroit Lions. The Lions made the playoffs with a record of 9-7, and Sanders posted well over 2,000 scrimmage yards.

In the second half of the regular season, Sanders went on a tear, rushing for over 150+ yards in a game three times.

Little did the world know, however, that Barry Sanders was about to have the worst game of his career.


It was December 31st, 1994, and the Detroit Lions were travelling to Green Bay to take on Mike Holmgren and the 10-7 Packers.

The Packers had one of the best defenses in the league that season, led by the likes of Reggie White, Sean Jones and Bryce Paup.

The Lions were used to playing indoors, and the Packers wanted to make Detroit suffer in the cold weather of Lambeau Field.

They also had a very specific gameplan - keep Barry Sanders in check, and make the Lions win through the air.


Things got off to a perfect start for the Packers, as they drove down the field on the opening drive to take a 7-0 lead.

The Packers stacked the box against the Lions, stopping Barry Sanders three straight times to force a three-and-out on the Lions' first drive.

The Packers would open up a 10 point lead in the game, which forced Dave Krieg and the Lions to throw more, taking it out of the hands of Barry Sanders.

When Sanders did touch the ball, he was often tackled for a loss in the backfield, as the Packers were having no trouble making mincemeat out of the offensive line of the Lions.

The Lions would mount a comeback, but would eventually lose the game by a score of 16-12.

Sanders was completely neutralized on the day, as he rushed 13 times for NEGATIVE one yard - easily the worst performance of his career.

Barry's longest run of the day would be for seven yards, and he would be tackled for a loss a half dozen times.


Despite being one of the most dominant running backs of all time, Sanders had a rough go of it in playoff games.

In fact, over the course of his illustrious career, Sanders would only rush for 100+ yards in ONE playoff game.

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