5 things we learned in Lions first win of the season vs. Washington

Lions now 1-1 on the season

Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrates a sack in the first half against the Washington Commanders during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski) (Rick Osentoski, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Lions won their first game of the year on Sunday, and we learned a lot about this growing team.


Hey, Lions fans! It always feels better to wake up on Monday after a win, doesn’t it? I could get used to this.

So let’s get into it -- the Lions won, and we have thoughts. Here are some things I learned watching the Lions win on Sunday vs. Washington.


Aidan Hutchinson is the real deal

Not that I was doubting the guy, but it’s always nice to see things play out on the field. After the Lions first game vs. Philly, we were all looking for a better game from Hutchinson. And he delivered.

Hutchinson, seemingly on one leg, recorded three sacks in the first half, leading the Lions defense to a shut out, holding Washington to just two first downs in the first half. He’s the 4th-youngest player in NFL history to produce a game with three sacks, and the first Lions rookie to do it.

Hutch was getting off the line with ease, and his motor is undeniable. In replays, you can see him being blocked several times, but his legs don’t stop. His pursuit continues until the whistle, and it paid off a few times.

I can’t remember the last time I saw the Lions get actual pressure on a quarterback. So that’s refreshing. The Lions had six sacks on Carson Wentz. Whew. That was fun.

No sophomore slump for St. Brown

I’m always worried about sophomore slumps with rookies -- because teams have a full season of tape on you. But St. Brown isn’t letting any scheme stop him.

Amon-Ra St. Brown continued to prove he’s Detroit No. 1 wide-out, probably for years to come, with an electric performance, scoring two touchdowns on nine catches for 116 yards, an average of about 13 yards per catch. He was targeted 12 times. He also broke a 58 yard run on a jet route to bring the offense back to life in the second half.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) makes a touchdown catch against Washington Commanders cornerback William Jackson III (3) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Lon Horwedel) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

St. Brown is just the third player in NFL history to produce a TD catch in six straight games at age 22 or younger. The others? Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski.

St. Brown also tied the NFL record for the longest stretch of games -- eight -- with eight or more catches. He has also produced six straight games with eight or more receptions and a TD, establishing a new NFL record. Sunday was also his first multi-touchdown game.

St. Brown is becoming one of the most dangerous players on the field in any game, and when’s the last time we could say that about anyone since Calvin Johnson left?

Jared Goff is Jared Goff -- and that’s okay

Lions quarterback Jared Goff played a really nice game on Sunday, throwing four touchdowns on 20 completions for 256 yards. He didn’t turn the ball over, and his passer rating was 121.7 (Wentz had a 99.7, for reference).

Goff still did some Goff things, of course. He threw into coverage a few times and was very lucky to not be picked off. He held onto the ball for too long a few times, too. But these are the things you get with Goff. I think it’s still mostly good.

Goff has had eight throws go for 20+ yards, that’s fourth in the NFL among QBs. He’s only been sacked four times in the first two games.

There was a lot of hype about Goff being a lot better this year. I’m not sure he’s that much better. But he’s playing well, and it’s hard to complain with four touchdown throws and a win.

Lions special teams is solid

The unsung heroes of any NFL team -- special teams. And the Lions special teams is truly special.

The coverage on punts and kickoffs is excellent. The Lions are getting to returners so quickly and not only making the tackle, but adding a little extra to the hit. Good luck trying to return the next kick after getting pummeled over and over again.

Detroit Lions' Kalif Raymond (11) celebrates with Derrick Barnes (55) after his punt return during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Kicker Austin Seibert is perfect on field goals (2) and extra points (9), which is comforting. Punter Jack Fox is having another great punting season, averaging 51 yards per punt, with three so far inside the 20-yard line.

Swift is special

Last but not least, D’Andre Swift. The Lions running back played on a bad ankle on Sunday, and still delivered multiple big plays for the offense. The man is a special talent and the Lions should sign him to an extension as soon as possible.

Swift is third in all purpose yards with 262, behind Tyreek Hill and Saquon Barkley. Not bad. (Amon-Ra St. Brown is fifth on that list, by the way).

The biggest of Swift plays came in the second half when the Lions so desperately needed to respond. He caught a ball and fell, but was untouched around the 20 yard line on a third-down play. He got up and slashed across the field, walking into the end zone. It was arguably the biggest play of the game, as it stopped the Washington momentum and gave the Lions some new life.

Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift (32) rushes in the first half against the Washington Commanders during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.