What a day for Lions rookie pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson.
The No. 2 overall pick out of Michigan became the first Lions rookie to record three sacks in a game in franchise history. He's also the fourth youngest player at 22 years old to have such a game.
After Hutchinson recorded just a single tackle in his debut last week, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said he wasn't worried about Hutchinson. Glenn was right.
Hutchinson was extremely impactful this week in Detroit's 36-27 win over Washington, notching six tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits.
"You learn from stuff and you move on," Hutchinson said of the difference in production this week. "I don't think that I played bad in the first game. But definitely, I had a lot more opportunity I felt in this game and I made the most of it. I think I played good in both games but definitely, I made the most of my opportunities in this game."
All three of Hutchinson's sacks were in the first half as the Lions built a 22-0 lead. The defensive line as a whole was more impactful this week. Charles Harris and John Cominsky also recorded sacks. Harris' was a strip sack in the end zone that resulted in a safety for the Lions.
After allowing 216 rushing yards to the Eagles last week, Detroit gave up just 88 to the Commanders. Overall, it was a pretty good day for the defense, anchored by Hutchinson and his three sacks.
"Yeah, look he played better than he did last week," head coach Dan Campbell said of Hutchinson after the game. "You know he was much more detailed with how he rushed and much more disciplined. He was better, but so was everybody around him, which helps him be better.
"I'm fired up. I am, I love it. Three sacks, I hope we get three more and he gives us three more next week. And I haven't seen the tape, but just from what I saw out there and how everything was run and the stunts and I thought he did a great job."
Detroit's run game was strong again this week. After rushing for 181 yards against the Eagles last week, Detroit put up 191 yards on the ground in the win over Washington, good for an 8.0 yard average. There were some terrific chunk runs including 58 yards on a jet sweep by wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Running back D’Andre Swift went off right tackle for 50 yards.
It was a terrific game by the offensive line blocking the run game, and for a second straight week the wide receivers and tight ends were big contributors as blockers in the run game. Wide receiver Quintez Cephus had a key block on St. Brown's long run. Tight end T.J. Hockenson helped spring Swift's long run. St. Brown had some nice blocks throughout the course of the game as well.
"Cephus made a hell of a block now, and that was one of those you circle and say – 'Hey, Q this is your play. And he went in there and I mean it was outstanding and get a traveler, he blocks a traveler, now we're off to the races and St. Brown does the rest," Campbell said. "So, everybody's got a hand in it. Those guys, they did their job. They did what was asked of them."
The Lions had gone three preseason games and a Week 1 loss to Philadelphia without generating a single turnover. So it was good to see an early strip-sack turned into a safety, and a key Will Harris interception in the third quarter to thwart a Washington scoring attempt at the Lions' 20-yard line.
"Listen, one of the big things we talked about and put another emphasis on, you know, you emphasize it, you emphasize it, and it's like alright we got to emphasize it a different way. It was about turnovers, and we got that," Campbell said.
"I mean look, the sack fumble, essentially in the end zone, that's a turnover. They were getting a little momentum and to get that (Harris interception) I felt like kind of reset us a little bit. Gave us a chance to breathe and it proved to be a big play."
The Lions' offense is 8-of-10 scoring touchdowns in the red zone this season after going 4-for-4 last week and 4-for-6 on Sunday.