Detroit Lions suffer brutal collapse to SF 49ers, 34-31, one win from Super Bowl 2024

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Detroit Lions thoroughly outplayed the San Francisco 49ers for a half Sunday at Levi's Stadium.

But they then pulled off their most painful playoff loss yet in a franchise whose history is littered with them.

The Lions lost to the 49ers, 34-31, after blowing a 24-7 third-quarter lead in what felt like an instance en route to allowing 27 straight points in the second half until a late touchdown, in one of the biggest collapses in NFL playoff history.

The Lions remain one of four teams never to reach the Super Bowl (two are expansion franchises Jacksonville and Houston, and the other is the Cleveland Browns, which did not play in 1996-98) and the lone NFC team.

The 49ers will play the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas, a rematch from four years ago won in comeback fashion by the Chiefs, 31-20.

The Lions were hurt by three dropped passes in the second half, a fumble and two fourth-down failures, including a huge gamble by coach Dan Campbell in the fourth quarter instead of opting for a potential tying 48-yard field field goal with under 8 minutes remaining.

Lions fans: Celebrate a renaissance 2023 season with a new book from the Free Press.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions suffer brutal collapse to 49ers, one win from Super Bowl