The Detroit Lions are headed to the NFC Divisional Playoffs after a nail-biting win against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.
The Lions earned their first playoff win in 32 yards.
This was also the first NFL playoff appearance for the Lions since 2016. But they had lost nine straight playoff games before earning this win on Sunday.
Detroit made Dan Campbell the head coach of the Detroit Lions on January 20, 2021. He wanted the team to take on the identity of the city of Detroit, suggesting that Detroit was a city that was down but found its way up.
Campbell and the Lions proved their identity three years later and are now playing for a Super Bowl.
But to echo his thoughts, the Lions weren’t just all talk. They added former Michigan star Aidan Hutchinson, who grew up in Plymouth, Michigan, as a Detroit Lions fan.
Campbell and the Lions wanted guys that fit in with the culture. There was no guy better than the Michigan Man himself.
While Detroit’s defense hasn’t always been spectacular, the pass rush has, and that’s been primarily due to Aidan Hutchinson.
After being drafted with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Hutchinson has dramatically impacted the defensive line. In Sunday’s playoff game, he added two sacks and six total tackles in the win. That’s why the Lions went with him with their first pick of the draft.
Let’s check out the Aidan Hutchinson stats throughout his career.
Aidan Hutchinson in his playoff debut:
🦁 23 pass rushing snaps
🦁 9 pressures
🦁 2 sacks
🦁 39.1% pressure percentage pic.twitter.com/0yvT4E1oD6
— PFF (@PFF) January 15, 2024
A Michigan Man
Aidan Hutchinson entered the NFL Draft just a little too early and missed out on an NCAA Championship with the Wolverines this year.
But he’s ultimately one of the players that helped build Michigan into what it is today.
As a true freshman, Hutchinson played in all 13 games and added 15 tackles. He performed at a higher level in 2019 and added 68 tackles with 4.5 sacks. But as a junior, things went south. Hutchinson needed season-ending surgery three games into the NFL season.
When he got his opportunity as a senior, Hutchinson delivered in a big way. He said Michigan’s single-season sack record at 14.
Do you know how many amazing players played at Michigan before Hutchinson?
With that, he won multiple awards and was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy as a defensive player. His stock was so high that he went into the NFL Draft despite more eligibility.
Aidan Hutchinson College Stats
Hutchinson played in 43 NCAAF games at Michigan. He added 81 tackles, 153 combined tackles, and 18.5 sacks in those games. He also deflected ten passes and forced four fumbles. However, he didn’t recover any fumbles.
Hutchinson had many doubters. In the College Football Playoff, Hutchinson failed to make an impact against some of the better offensive tackles he had played against. But the Detroit Lions saw his potential and developed him into one of the best defensive ends in college football.
Aidan Hutchinson Stats & Player Profile
Hutchinson has only played in two seasons. But those two seasons have been electric. Check out his career stats below.
Hutchinson hasn’t missed a game in the NFL throughout his career. However, his development this year really helped his career stats take off on a positive note.
Hutchinson’s Flu Game?
Hutchinson never confirmed that he had the flu. However, he did suggest that he was dealing with an illness during Sunday’s game against the Rams.
He acknowledged that he had woken up on Saturday with a little something. Therefore, his endurance was cut slightly on Sunday during the game.
Still, despite that, Hutchinson added two sacks and made some big plays to help the Lions escape the Rams at home.
Hutchinson believes that he gets better and better as the season progresses. He also told the media that he’s been waiting for an opportunity to play in the playoffs since he came into the league and wanted to make the most of it.
He certainly did that on Sunday.
Hutchinson doesn’t like to miss plays or miss NFL games. He played 988 snaps this season, which was third among all defensive linemen in the league. Still, despite his ego, he told Romeo Okwara that he should be ready for an expanded role in case of a worse illness.
Still, Hutchinson played 44 of the 58 defensive snaps, which was his usual reps. Later in the game, he also forced a holding call that was crucial to the Lions’ success.
Not all NFL stats show the entire picture in the box score. However, the NFL scores and odds never lie. You can bet online with the Lions to win the Super Bowl at +950, which is still really good value. Aidan Hutchinson and the Lions will have home-field advantage for another game this weekend. His NFL stats will likely stay red hot behind a Detroit fan base that is typically very loud.
Pay attention to Aidan Hutchinson stats for the next few years and beyond. He could become one of the NFL’s greats at the position. He’s just starting to find his groove and is only 23 years old.