DETROIT - After a decade of losing, the Detroit Lions are in the playoffs.
And they made sure the San Diego Chargers are out.
With their fans chanting "PLAYOFFS" for the final minutes, Detroit got there for the first time since 1999 as Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the first half to beat the Chargers, 38-10, on Saturday.
The only team to lose all 16 games in a season (2008), the Lions (10-5) have won three straight after a 2-5 slump to earn a wild-card spot in the playoffs.
Following the game, coach Jim Schwartz and the players did a victory lap at Ford Field, high-fiving fans in the front row.
According to the Chargers (7-8), they will not be in the postseason for a second straight year after making it five times in a six-season stretch. And that might cost coach Norv Turner his job.
Knowing they could move into the postseason simply by winning, the Lions held San Diego scoreless until midway through the third quarter, when Philip Rivers threw an 11-yard pass to Malcom Floyd to make it 24-7.
The Lions, though, closed strong to restore the rout.
Detroit and the Buffalo Bills started the season with the league's longest playoff droughts at 11 seasons. The Lions haven't been in the playoffs since Barry Sanders was their star running back, and their drought is over because a decades-long search for a franchise quarterback ended with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. Coming off the league's only 0-16 season, Detroit selected Stafford and kept him healthy for the first time this season.
Stafford was almost perfect in the first half against San Diego, completing 21 of 26 passes for 260 yards with three TDs.
Stafford finished with 373 yards passing to give him 4,518 this year, breaking Scott Mitchell's single-season team record from 1995.