DETROIT — The Detroit Lions had the Washington Commanders in a 22-0 hole at halftime, thanks to their pass rush and the big-play ability of D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown.
That pass rush accounted for four first-half sacks, with a safety thrown in for good measure. Prized rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson had three sacks in the first two quarters. And Charles Harris added the strip-sack safety from the other side of the line. Quarterback Carson Wentz had only 59 passing yards at halftime, leading Washington to only two first-half first downs. The Commanders didn’t move the chains until the homestretch of the second quarter.
“Hard to say, hard to say. I know they probably brought a little more pressure on first and second-down than maybe we were thinking,” Wentz said. “But again, they kind of had a different — kind of plan of attack every single week. So, I think — I thought we adjusted to it OK. Again, it was just one little thing here and there. And next thing you know it’s halftime and bad feeling.
“This league’s hard, and I wish I had the magic answer because last week we came out rolling. We came out the first few drives hot, and this week, we’re horrible. We were horrible in the first half and yeah, I’ve got to own that one and find a way to stay on the field and convert some things just to get a little momentum and we couldn’t find it at all.”
Related: Lions RB D’Andre Swift has electric showing in win despite bum ankle: ‘Wish I was 100%’
Related: Watch the Detroit Lions’ locker room celebration while chanting Dan Skipper’s name
Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said he felt like Detroit’s defensive line executed its stunts well and that his offensive line was late picking it up. The Lions finished with five sacks.
It was a welcome sight for Detroit’s defense to have such an impactful stretch. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles gave them fits in the season opener. They came close to wrangling the mobile quarterback, but struggled to get him down. Most of the talk this week focused on the chance to go against a more traditional pocket passer like Wentz. Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn definitely had the pressure dialed up in the first half, then handled the pass-happy second half.
“I thought all those guys up front, they did a good job,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said. “They were much better than last week because they were much more disciplined and they stayed true to what we were trying to do with the stunts. (defensive line coach Todd) Wash did a hell of a job with them. But they were thorough and detailed with it. And when you do that, that helps a guy like Hutch, it helps a guy Charles, it helps a guy like (Alim McNeill) Lim, it helps a guy like (Julian Okwara) JO So it helps everybody upfront. And we were disciplined with that and it showed up.”
See below for more from inside the locker room:
Commanders HC Ron Rivera on Detroit’s defense: “Well, I think the thing you’ve got to give them credit for is they were getting off the ball and getting up vertical, getting into the crease. That’s their aggressive nature. That’s how they do things. But you can get them with some misdirection stuff, which we did. You can get them on some play-action stuff, which we did. But, if they guess right and put themselves in position, they’re going to make a play or two as well. Again, like I said, that’s a very gritty football team over there. I think what coach Campbell is doing over there is really solid.”
Lions DL Aidan Hutchinson on what changed from Week 1: “You learn from stuff and you move on. I don’t think that I played bad in the first game. But definitely, I had a lot more opportunity I felt in this game and I made the most of it. Yeah, I think I played good in both games but definitely, I made the most of my opportunities in this game.”
Lions HC Dan Campbell on why it was Dan Skipper to start at guard: “Well, because Dan’s been here for two years now — since we’ve been here. I know he’s been here longer than that. But he knows our offense in-and-out, he knows all the positions, and look this isn’t the easiest offense to just walk right in and learn. We got two new guards, (Drew) Forbes has been here longer than Kayode (Awosika). We just felt like Skip, man, has a real good understanding of it. And we felt like even though he’s never played guard in a game, we just feel like he was going to hold up, you know. We trust him. I trust him. He’s a battler. He’s not going to go in the tank if something happens. He’d fight, he knows how to work with those guys. (Taylor) Decker knows him well, Evan’s (Brown) been with him. So it just felt like it was the right thing to do and he battled in there.”
Lions C Evan Brown on how OL coach Hank Fraley gets them ready through all the injuries: “I think just how he prepares us for the week. I think he does a great job with the game plan, how it’s installed and communicating the message on what we gotta get done. So I think that’s what he does well, and then out on the field, getting us in — you know, it’s a combination of him and Ben Johnson — of getting us into advantageous looks, scheme, stuff like that to take advantage of what a defense does.”
Lions CB Jeff Okudah on where his confidence is: “I think with me, the biggest thing is just playing more and more. The more I play, the more confident I get. I think those two things just go hand in hand. The confidence that I had after that Atlanta game is nowhere near the confidence that I have right now four games later.”
Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown on his record-breaking stretch: “I don’t really think about. I just go out and play ball, prepare all week. Coaches put us in great positions to make plays and I just go out there and play ball. I don’t think too much about records, this, that, or the other, how I’m playing. Every week’s a new week–it’s a new opponent, they might give you a different look. So just go out there and play and see what happens… I would say, I appreciate it right now in the moment. As next week comes I don’t even think about it no more. I’ll maybe think about it today, but like I said next week it’s a new opponent. It’s 0-0 that week, we’ve got to win that week. But I would say the end of my career is when I really look at everything. But for now enjoy today, when next week comes we’ve got the Vikings, so it’s all Minnesota.”