All season long, Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchison was putting heat on opposing quarterbacks but didn't have the robust sack total to show for it. Then the floodgates opened in the final two regular season games, with five combined sacks against the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.
Hutchinson joined Micah Parsons this season to make it five players in Pro Football Focus' history of tracking them to be credited with 100 quarterback pressures in a season (101).
Hutchinson had two more sacks, with five quarterback hits and two tackles for loss, in Sunday night's Wild Card Round win over the Los Angeles Rams.
After the game, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, the Pro Bowler revealed he'd been dealing with the illness that has hit the Lions' defensive line lately. And by all accounts of those who were there, he couldn't hide sniffles during his postgame presser.
"I woke up yesterday with a little something and endurance was cut a little bit today," Hutchinson said. "But we'll be good in a couple days. I just told Romeo (Okwara), 'Be ready. Every three or four plays, I might need a sub.' But this moment was way bigger than everything."
Hutchinson barely ever leaves the field usually, playing 91 percent of the Lions' defensive snaps during the regular season and 988 total snaps (third-most among defensive lineman in the NFL). With his illness coming to light to explain why he was subbed out so often, it's not a surprise he set a season-low for snap share on Sunday night (76 percent). And he still led Lions' defensive lineman in snaps.
As sick as he may have been on Sunday night, Hutchinson wound up making the Rams' offensive line (and one lineman in particular) want to throw up.
Aidan Hutchinson made Rams' offensive line sick with dominant performance
According to PFF, Hutchinson had nine pressures on 23 pass rush rush snaps on Sunday night in his playoff debut.
NFL Next Gen Stats "only" credited Hutchinson with seven pressures on his 23 pass rushes Sunday night ("merely" a 30.4 percent pressure rate).
Next Gen highlighted how Hutchinson owned Rams' right tackle Rob Havenstein in those individual matchups, after Havenstein had allowed the lowest pressure rate (3.4 percent) among qualifying right tackles from Week 11-18. Hutchinson also drew a holding call on Havenstein that derailed what turned out to be the Rams' final drive of the game.
I mean, what is Havenstein supposed to do here?
If you need another metric, Hutchinson had the highest pass rush win rate from ESPN through Sunday of Wild Card Weekend.
At some extent less than 100 percent health, and playing less than usual as a result, Hutchinson was still an absolute force during the Lions' win over the Rams.
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