“Defense wins championships” is the adage. That was almost proved to be a fact in 1934 when the Detroit Lions chased after their first ever NFL title.
That season, the Lions defense featured no big name stars. But, as a unit, they produced an incredible string that has never been challenged in the decades since that memorable year. The Lions put together a seven-game win streak in which they held their opponent off the scoreboard. During the stretch of games, the Lions also never allowed the opponent inside the 20-yard-line!
The unfathomable streak began with a 9-0 win over the New York Giants on Sept. 23 and continued with wins over the Chicago Cardinals (6-0), Green Bay Packers (3-0), Philadelphia Eagles (10-0), Boston Redskins (24-0), Brooklyn Dodgers (28-0) and Cincinnati Reds (38-0).
The streak ended on Nov. 4 as the Lions dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates (they became the Steelers in 1940). Detroit gave up its first score in nearly two months on a fluke play by Pittsburgh but the Lions still walked off the field with a convincing 40-7 win.
After opening the season 10-0, the Lions lost three straight games, albeit by close margins, and missed out on the playoffs as the division rival Chicago Bears posted a perfect 13-0 regular season record.
The following season, with the Lions D leading the way again, Detroit claimed their first ever league title.
Here’s a bit more trivia, or trivial note, about the Lions’ shutout streak. While it remains the longest consecutive shutout streak of games won in a season, it doesn’t stand up against the longest shutout streaks of games won OR TIED. That record of 10 games is shared by the 1926 Pottsville Maroons and 1927 New York Giants.