Well, that was fun! The Detroit Lions have defeated the Washington Commanders 36-27 to improve to 1-1 on the season. Don’t let the final score fool you, it was all Lions from start to finish. They didn’t allow a first down until there were 5 minutes left in the first half, and the offense could’ve easily scored 50 points if it wasn’t for a few dropped passes. In my article last week, I talked about how the offensive unit played their tails off against the Eagles, but it is the defense’s turn to get some credit.
You’re probably confused why I am deciding to highlight the defensive performance given the fact that Carson Wentz threw for 4 touchdowns, but that wasn’t anything I was concerned about. From the Commander’s first possession on offense, I knew this game was over.
The pass rush was on FIRE against the Commanders offensive line. Rookie Aidan Hutchinson was sensational, totaling 3 sacks in the first half after recording 0 in his debut. Not only did he record 3 sacks, but the Lions put up 5 as a team after 0 the week before. Granted, there is a grand canyon-sized gap in leg talent between Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts, but that is still a remarkable improvement.
One of the issues in the Eagles game was how they couldn’t stop the run if their jobs depended on it. They went from allowing over 200 rushing yards in week 1 to allowing just 88 this week, with 21 of those coming on 1 play.
Former “bust” Jeff Okudah turned in another impressive performance this week, shutting out star receiver Terry McLaurin in the first half. He did once again have an issue with cramps, but I think that is because he hasn’t played a real game in over a year at this point. He looked great, and so did Will Harris.
Believe it or not, Will Harris actually played a really nice game, recording his first career interception in the process. He stepped up in Amani Oruwariye’s absence and silenced a lot of his well-deserved critics.
So, what does it say about the future of his defense if players like Jeff Okudah and Will Harris are turning in impressive performances? It means that this unit is getting better. They played an A+ half of football to gain all the momentum, but their level of effort understandably decreased in the second half. If they can fix their approach and understand that you have to play 2 halves of football, this is a unit that could rank towards the top half of the league.
They took a huge step forward after their first game, and next week against the Minnesota Vikings will be a real test to see if this team is any good or not.