American Football

Lions rookies James Houston, Aidan Hutchinson shattering sack records

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions young defensive line is rewriting the record book after an impressive 2022 season—and a dominant performance against the Bears.

In the early half of the Detroit Lions’ 2022 season, it was second overall pick Aidan Hutchinson who was making an impact. Just 10 games into his career, the former Michigan Wolverine had already picked up 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. It appeared he was as good as advertised.

And while his level of game has continued to rise—with a marked improvement on his run defense in recent weeks— when it comes to sacks, the Lions have had an entirely new dominant force amongst their rookie class.

The rise of sixth-round pick James Houston has been sudden and emphatic. The Lions made Houston active for the first time in Week 12, and the defensive end immediately rewarded Detroit with two sacks in his NFL debut. Despite continuing to have just a limited role on defense—never topping more than 25 snaps in a game—Houston’s pass rushing skills continued to be on display, and the 24-year-old headed into Week 17 against the Bears already second on the team with 5.0 sacks through five games.

But Sunday was his breakout game. Houston had a much bigger role on Sunday, and, again, he rewarded Detroit for that personnel decision. In total, Houston tallied three sacks in the game, including a forced fumble that was recovered by fellow rookie Hutchinson.

Now Houston actually leads the Lions—and all NFL rookies—with 8.0 sacks on the season, and that’s just in six games played with mostly limited reps. Combined with Hutchinson’s 7.5 sacks on the season—and two from Lions second-round pick Josh Paschal on Sunday—the Lions rookie class is now breaking record after record. Here’s just a few of them, courtesy of the Detroit Lions PR team:

“It’s a good foundation for us, too,” Hutchinson said after the game. “And yeah, man, it’s very exciting being out there and being a part of games like that.”

This is an exciting time for the Lions defensive front, and it just might be the beginning.

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