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FOUR DOWNS: Lions' defense puts up 7 sacks in win over Falcons


Detroit Lions defensive line coach John Scott Jr. said this week sacks can sometimes come in bunches. Scott had faith his guys would be able to get to Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder on Sunday, and his players proved him right.

Detroit notched just one sack combined in their first two games but went off for seven against the Falcons. They also notched 11 tackles for loss as they completely dominated the line of scrimmage in a 20-6 win.

Six different players recorded Detroit's seven sacks: Aidan Hutchinson had two with Alim McNeill, Charles Harris, Benito Jones, Derrick Barnes and Jack Campbell also getting home.

Atlanta came into the game averaging 170.5 yards per game on the ground but had just 44 Sunday and just 183 total yards of offense. Detroit completely took Atlanta out of their game plan offensively and forced them into a throwing team, which isn't where they are most comfortable.

Kudos to Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn for putting together a terrific game plan Sunday. He had his players in the right spots to fly around and make plays all game.

"We played a physical, violent game," head coach Dan Campbell said after the game. "Our defense was outstanding. (Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) AG did a hell of a job. We looked like a hungry, hungry team."


Lions quarterback Jared Goff said he knew from the very first day of OTAs back in the spring that tight end Sam LaPorta wasn't like most rookies.

"He's a stud," Goff said of LaPorta, who finished Sunday with eight receptions for 84 yards including a 45-yard touchdown catch, the first of his career. "Has great feel for the game. Has great hands, obviously. Has good speed. Blocks well when we ask him to block. I know for me personally he does a great job in the route progression.

"I think the most exciting part about him, and I'm sure he'd say this, he's not even playing as well as he could. There's still some rookie things that happen here and there. The sky is the limit for him."

How good has LaPorta been to start his NFL career?

Sunday he established a new NFL record for the most receptions through three career games by a tight end with 18. He also ranks second in receiving yards (186).


The first two running backs taken in this year's NFL Draft squared off at Ford Field Sunday with Atlanta's Bijan Robinson opposite Detroit's Jahmyr Gibbs. Robinson was taken No. 8 overall by the Falcons and the Lions took Gibbs No. 12 overall.

Sharing the field for the first time in their NFL careers it's Gibbs who walked away not only with the victory, but the more productive game too.

Gibbs rushed 17 times for 80 yards (4.7 avg.), including back-to-back runs of 12 and 21 yards to put Detroit's offense inside the Atlanta 10-yard line during a fourth-quarter drive that ended with a Goff 3-yard touchdown to give the Lions a 20-3 lead at the time.

"I thought Ben (Johnson) called it great there kind of getting him settled in towards the end and getting some holes for him at the end certainly behind that left side," Goff said. "He's a good player."

Robinson rushed for 33 yards on 10 carries and caught four balls for 27 yards.


Lions second-year defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson said he had Sunday's 'Stanky Legg' celebration ready to go for weeks but needed a sack to finally unleash it Sunday in front of the 63,000-plus in attendance at Ford Field. Hutchinson had done a nice job generating pressure in Detroit's first two games but hadn't been able to finish with a sack.

He finished in a big way Sunday. His second sack late in the fourth quarter included a forced fumble and fumble recovery that sealed the game for the Lions.

"This game really did test my mental toughness," Hutchinson said. "It's hard when you feel like you're playing at a high level, but the production doesn't come. It's frustrating. That's the game of football.

"I had to get a little mentally tough today. You're so proud of the boys for producing and so proud of the boys for getting after it and I also wanted to be a part of it. So, it took some mental toughness. This game is four quarters."

Hutchinson certainly came on strong in the second half and finished with two sacks, four tackles, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, two passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

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