DETROIT — Aidan Hutchinson’s performance drew a standing ovation, carrying three sacks in Sunday’s 36-27 Detroit Lions win over the Washington Captains. This is a club record.
All sacks came against Carson Wentz in the first half, and the trio had a rowdy crowd at its feet.
“It’s pretty cool, but I think it’s the icing on the cake,” Hutchinson said in the locker room after the game. “Everyone in that defensive line, I mean, everyone just does their jobs and I got a lot of fruit from that this week. So I’m fortunate to have benefited.” Of most of my chances this week. It’s a complete team effort on that defensive line. Sacks are a very boring thing, so you need everyone to click, and I think we were pushing today.”
The only real flaw from the historic performance was a leg injury that forced Hutchinson out of the match in the second half. He received medical attention on the touch line before returning to the field, playing through the final whistle. He finished with six tackles overall, the most of any front-line player, and then said after the match he wasn’t interested in the injury. Detroit travels to Minnesota next week to open multiplayer against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Just some football stuff, that’s it,” Hutchinson said of the injury. “We’ll be fine. But it’s just one of those things that you have to stand out, and that’s what I had to do. … Happen, and it’s going to be fine.”
Hutchinson has been a hit since he was selected with the second overall pick in the draft. He was a frontier offender when he was matched to the backup offensive line during the early parts of the Offseason program, then was promoted to the starting defense to start training camp and continued to wreak havoc.
But he was frustrated on his NFL debut last week, where he finished with only one assist and no quarterback hits.
Hutchinson was better on this debut than the boxscore would suggest. He pressed the Eagles’ Galen Hurts three times in his first four series, but he was also guilty of excessive pursuit – something Philadelphia had plotted against him – and never came home. Then when the Eagles took a 17-point lead in the second half, they turned more toward their fast attack. They only passed nine times after halftime, averaging less than 2 yards in the air per pass.
This dash deflects the entire black pass. In Hutchinson’s handful of real fast-passing opportunities, he was mostly a double team, and once was ready to come back for his triplex if he broke.
Hutchinson didn’t hold back, instead looking forward to playing the traditional pocket quarterback on Sunday. He then ran out of the tunnel to the loudest applause of any player announced in the starting lineup, and immediately started playing.
The rookie dealt with Wentz directly at the line of scrimmage in the first third of the match. The play forced a penalty, and it was officially recorded as a sack.
He didn’t have to wait long to get number 2.
Or number 3, for that matter.
Hutchinson broke through two more sacks in the second quarter, both of which led to major deficits that forced Washington into third and forever. Both plays led to kicks, and both kicks resulted in points. The Detroit girl is leading 22-0 thanks to heavy pressure.
“I’m excited, I am,” said coach Dan Campbell. “I love him. Three bags? I hope we get three more and he gives us three more next week. And I didn’t see the tape, but just from what I saw there and how it all worked out and the stunts, I thought he did a great job, I did.”
“I thought he did a great job, but I thought all of these guys did too. They all gush to each other, you know?”
we know. Teammate arrogant Charles Harris came home for a strip sack in the end zone, giving Detroit an early 5-0 lead, plus the ball. Then on the other side of a two-minute warning late in the game, John Kominsky broke through a fourth sack that knocked out Washington for good.
The Detroit quarterback hit 11 times overall, more than double the times they hit the Hurts last week. But no one was better than Hutchinson.
At his age – 22 years and 40 days – no Lions player has ever sacked the midfielder twice in a match. But Hutchinson not only did it three times, he only needed half a match to do so.
He is the fourth youngest player in NFL history with a triple, behind only Vernon Maxwell, Nick Bosa and Greg Townsend.
“You learn from things and you move forward,” Hutchinson said. “I didn’t think I played badly in the first match, but for sure I had a lot of chances in this match, I felt. I took advantage of it. I think I played well in both games, but I took advantage of my chance in this match.”