Detroit Lions rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson put the league on notice Sunday with his three-sack effort against the Washington Commanders. He also contributed two tackles for loss, displaying his ability to impact both phases of the game. The performance earned him a Rookie of the Week nomination, but his position coach said his performance could’ve been even bigger on Sunday.
“He was in position to make the plays he did, for the most part,” defensive line coach Todd Wash said on Wednesday. “I still think he left about two or three sacks out there. That’s kind of the big thing we talked about is you’ve got to make the plays that you are capable of making. It would have really been an impressive game had he done that.”
Despite not capitalizing on all of his opportunities, Hutchinson has had a solid start to his NFL career. And when you put his performance into its proper context... well, you could say he’s had a phenomenal start.
ESPN’s Seth Walder put together a chart tracking edge defender pass rush rates, but put that into context with the amount of times each player is getting double teamed. While Hutchinson’s pass rush win rate is still quite low by ESPN’s measurement (which counts a “win” as a pressure within 2.5 seconds of the snap), Walder provides an essential piece to the puzzle: Aidan Hutchinson is seeing more double teams than any NFL edge defender not named Nick Bosa.
First win rate chart of the season!— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 21, 2022
Double team rate at edge (x) by pass rush win rate at edge (y).
Traffic jam at the bottom courtesy of Micah Parsons at the top! pic.twitter.com/WXWhvjf443
That’s a lot of respect given by opposing offensive coordinators. It’s also an opportunity for other Lions defenders to step up. Unfortunately, Charles Harris—who had one of the highest double team rates last year—hasn’t been able to take advantage of the lightened attention his way. That said, it’s worth noting that Detroit has faced a couple of really good offensive lines with the Eagles and Commanders.
So it will be interesting to see if the Lions’ pass rush rates increase as the season goes on and if opponents change up their strategy when it comes to Hutchinson and Harris.
- As always, Tuesday is filled with a bunch of film breakdown goodies from the Lions beat. Justin Rogers of the Detroit News looked into the differences between the Lions’ defensive performance against the Commanders in the first vs. the second half, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press highlighted the wide receivers’ role in the run game, while The Athletic’s Colton Pouncey focused on Aidan Hutchison and Malcolm Rodriguez.
- Jared Goff has been pretty darn good in the clutch thus far this season:
Not sure how this statistic is measured, but it's certainly worth noting how much better Goff has been in the second half of each game.— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) September 21, 2022
1st half: 19-of-37 for 206 yards (5.6 Y/A), 2 TDs, 1 INT, 74.8 passer rating
2nd half: 22-of-34, 265 yards (7.8 Y/A), 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 127.7 PR https://t.co/eoEBNAQM3B
- In MMQB’s Albert Breer’s mailbag, he answered the question “Are the Lions for real?” He also had this interesting blurb from a conversation he had with Goff:
I love this from @JaredGoff16—this is how he answered when I asked if where Detroit is right now feels at all like Los Angeles did in 2017 (When the Rams came out of nowhere to win the NFC West). https://t.co/IW0hXmzKY4 pic.twitter.com/fj99n2AudH— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 21, 2022
- We had former Lions Glover Quin on our podcast a few weeks ago, and this week he joined MLive’s “Dungeon of Doom” podcast to dish on everything that went wrong with the Matt Patricia era and how Dan Campbell is undoing some of that damage. It’s worth a listen.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown isn’t the only Lions weapon setting franchise records these days:
.@Lions RB @DAndreSwift's 10.0 rush avg. is the highest by any Lions player through two games in team history (min. 5 att.).— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) September 21, 2022
Swift is the only #NFL player with two runs of 50+ yards in 2022. He is also the only player with 250 scrimm. yards, one rec. TD & one rush TD.#OnePride pic.twitter.com/0VXGU4Zkdb
- On Tuesday, Goff was at the Detroit Lions Academy to unveil a new STEAM Lab. Eric Woodyard of ESPN has an inside look.