They’ve had nail-bitters and blowouts been upset and overmatched but of all the loses the Lions have had in Washington D.C. — 21 and counting since football moved to the nation’s capitol in 1937 — the most heartbreaking might have happened 18 years ago.

The Lions’ 0-for-life streak was just 17 games then and when Brett Perriman scored on a 51-yard pass with just over three minutes to play most everyone thought it was finally about to an end.

Washington went three-and-out on its next drive and even after the Lions failed to kill the clock on the ensuing possession it seemed unlikely they would suffer another defeat on a field that had become their own personal house of horrors.

They lost the NFC championship game at RFK Stadium in 1992 a blowout they still haven’t atoned for plus playoff games in 1983 and 2000. And while no one knew it at the time a win that sunny October day in 1995 would have given the Lions a share of the NFC Central title a home playoff game and a first-round bye.

With two minutes to play two timeouts in its pocket and 80 yards in front of it Washington drove methodically downfield for a 39-yard game-tying field goal made more improbable by the man who kicked it Eddie Murray.

A former Lion Murray lost eight games in Washington as a visitor during his first 12 NFL seasons in Detroit and knew how torturous the place was for his former team. He saw the playoff carnage first hand in 1983 and 1992 when the Lions were outscored a combined 72-17. And he knew how another loss would be perceived by fans.

“Nothing was ever brought up as far as what the streak was (by us)” Murray said. “It just seemed like it just constantly was always working out that we had a real tough time playing against the Redskins. Especially there at RFK it was really tough.”

Murray’s kick with 4 seconds left forced overtime but the streak was still there for the breaking after the Lions took over at their own 4 following a Washington punt.

But on their first offensive play of the extra period Darrell Green intercepted a Scott Mitchell pass intended for Johnnie Morton and returned it seven yards for the game-ending touchdown.

Murray celebrated with the rest of his teammates and it dawned on him later what the loss did to his old team.

“I was excited that we won the game as a member of the Redskins but my heart was aching for those guys thinking ‘Oh my god here’s another way that they’re going to lose to the Redskins’ ” Murray recalled this week. “I didn’t really think about it till afterwards because of course it was then brought up in the media that ‘Oh the Redskins keep their streak against the Lions going.’ And I said ‘Oh my God that’s right. They’ve never beaten the Redskins here.’ ”

The Lions have played just three games in Washington since that heartbreaker which perhaps explains why most members of the current team insist they had little or no idea the streak existed before this week.