Coming into the 2022 season, a big goal for the Detroit Lions was finding a way to generate more quarterback pressure.
So far, they’ve found a way to do that. In nearly a complete flip from the 2021 season, the Lions are putting way more pressure on the opposition up front and finding a way to get after it in the trenches.
While the Lions have played just two weeks of football, already, the team is lighting up opposing pockets in a major way. Detroit already has the league’s best pass rush from a pressure perspective statically, something the team’s PR team pointed out with a timely tweet.
“Through Week 2, the Lions have generated 48 total QB pressures, tied for the most in the NFL (per PFF). Detroit’s pressure has forced 8 throwaways from opposing QB’s, the most in the NFL this season,” the site tweeted.
That is a change from last season, when the Lions found pocket pressure to be nearly impossible. The Lions would finish with a total of 30 sacks. With these metrics alone, they are on pace to shatter that number.
All-told, the team in good shape to have a much better defense if this key metric holds throughout the season.
Lions Defensive Line Stepping Up
Coming into the season, a lot was made about the new players the team had added in the trenches. So far, Detroit is managing pressure with a cast of characters that not many folks would recognize across the league.
Rookie Aidan Hutchinson is driving the bus so far with three sacks, but the Lions have seen players like John Cominsky and Charles Harris pay dividends. The team is also getting solid role play from Julian Okwara, Austin Bryant, Isaiah Buggs and Alim McNeill.
All of this is happening without the likes of rookie Josh Paschal, second-year expected standout Levi Onwuzurike and perhaps their best edge rusher in terms of NFL production Romeo Okwara.
Add it all up and the Lions have had a fantastic start to the season on defense, and things could be getting even better in the near future.
Hutchinson Changing Tone of Defense
In terms of the reason this is the case for the Lions? Hutchinson can be seen as perhaps the key variable why.
Hutchinson is an NFL leader in terms of league sacks heading into Week 3. So far, he is just one sack off the pace set by Micah Parsons in spite of having a slow start to Week 1 statistically.
In addition to that, Hutchinson continues to press the pocket in a big way. In terms of rookie pressures up front, there’s been nobody better than Hutchinson and Kansas City rookie George Karlaftis to this point, as each have collected a whopping nine pressures through two games.
While the team had a huge day on offense in Week 2, the reason the Lions were able to sustain the win was due to the defense. It was quite an effort for the team, and Hutchinson played perhaps the most important leading role.
Hutchinson collected three sacks on the day, and showed off an impressive burst as well as a solid array of moves on the afternoon.
The Lions are starting to get after the quarterback way more than in the past, and their scheme and new rookie seem to be a big reason why.
Hopefully, the team can continue to get things done in the future and pay these stats off even more.
READ NEXT: Lions Rookie Gains New Nickname, Accolade