The Detroit Lions walked out of Arrowhead Stadium victorious in Week 1, but they didn’t win in their typical fashion. Unlike much of the last few years, we saw a dominant pass rush that rotated in talent after talent. The one consistent piece all night was Aidan Hutchinson terrorizing Patrick Mahomes in the backfield. No matter what Kansas City threw at him—Jawaan Taylor, tight end chip blocks, wide receiver chip blocks—Hutchinson made his presence known in the pocket.
Bold prediction of the week: Aidan Hutchinson finishes the job, notches 2.5+ sacks against Seattle Seahawks
Week 1’s pressures didn’t necessarily translate to sacks. There’s a thing called Mahomes Magic for a reason, and Lions fans saw it firsthand. Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket all night, but the Lions defense didn’t record a single sack.
That won’t be the case against the Seattle Seahawks.
You see, it wasn’t a one-hit wonder in Hutchinson. The entire defensive line got home. Six different Lions defensive linemen had pass rush win rates of 9% or more, per PFF. It’s not news for me to tell you that even among them, Hutchinson is a different beast. Per PFF, Hutchinson had a 20.5% pass rush win rate in Week 1.
This is a different Hutchinson than we knew in 2022. He had a notably bigger toolbox of pass rush moves in Week 1 than we’re accustomed to seeing. And if you thought he looked quick, your eyes are not deceiving you:
Aidan Hutchinson's average pass rush get off (time to cross LOS) has been 0.72 seconds tonight through 15 pass rushes, per NFL Next Gen Stats.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 8, 2023
His average last season was 0.88 seconds.
That's a *huge* difference if sustained.
I’m fully expecting a 15+ sack season out of Aidan Hutchinson this year, and after the tease we got in Week 1, I’m expecting him to make a big dent in that number in Week 2.
Regardless of Seattle’s offensive line situation, I’d write home for Hutchinson to post two sacks today simply on the merit of Geno Smith not being capable of replicating Patrick Mahomes’ escapability. However as you’ve probably heard by now, Seattle isn’t sending their best to Detroit, down both starting offensive tackles. As Mookie Alexander of our sister site Field Gulls put it, it’s a “worst-case scenario.”
That’s the cherry on top. It gives me confidence to sprinkle in a third sack that Hutchinson will probably split with someone coming off of the opposing edge and meeting him at the quarterback.
If Hutchinson can replicate what he did against the Chiefs, it’ll be a long day for Geno Smith and the Seahawks offense. Pressure early and often will take away the intermediate and deep passing game that Seattle loves and players like DK Metcalf thrive on. If all comes true, we won’t even notice by the end that the Lions are missing a starting tackle too.