The Detroit Lions’ defense was good in Week 11 against the New York Giants, and rookie defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
The Detroit Lions have won three games in a row to enter the playoff picture, and for the second time in those three weeks they’ve had a rookie win NFC Defensive Player of the Week. In Week 9 it was safety Kerby Joseph, and for Week 11 defensive end Aidan Hutchinson has won the award.
Against the New York Giants last Sunday, Hutchinson had three tackles without a sack. But he had his second interception of the season (his second in the last three games), and he recovered a fourth quarter fumble that led to the Lions final touchdown and closing out the 31-18 win. He is the first Lions defensive lineman to win NFC Defensive Player of the Week since Ezekiel Ansah during the 2017 season.
Defensive tackle Alim McNeill had a strong case for NFC Defensive Player of the Week himself, after registering a Pro Football Focus-record 10 pressures on Daniel Jones last Sunday. But Hutchinson was the choice, and not necessarily the wrong one.
Aidan Hutchinson becoming easy favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year
Hutchinson has started to refined the youthful edges of his game in recent weeks. Some of it is being used more in a way which better suits him, on the weakside in a two-point stance, and the rest is simple experience and having learned some things. The interception against the Giants was a savvy play, dropping into coverage when Jones clearly never saw him. To say nothing of the catch he made, and a 20-yard return, which may have him lobbying the offensive coaches for snaps at tight end in short order.
Hutchinson leads all rookie with 5.5 sacks and 31 pressures so far this season, and his two interceptions are third among rookies. At this point, someone will have to clearly and substantially outdo him from here on out to keep the No. 2 overall pick in last April’s draft from winning Defensive Rookie of the Year.
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