After logging six tackles and a couple of sacks in a big-time performance during the Lions’ Wild Card Round win over the Los Angeles Rams this past weekend, Hutchinson didn’t seem surprised.
“Like I told you guys, I heat up late in the season,” Hutchinson told reporters, via Christian Booher of All Lions. “It’s playoff time and I’ve been waiting for my opportunity in the playoffs and just want to make the most of it every [opportunity] I get.”
Hutchinson has certainly been heating up in recent weeks. Before his dominant outing against the Rams, he amassed five sacks between Weeks 17 and 18. On the season overall, he played in every game and posted 51 tackles, 11.5 sacks, an interception, three forced fumbles, a couple of fumble recoveries and seven passes defended en route to a Pro Bowl selection.
The 23-year-old, who played his collegiate football at the University of Michigan, was selected by Detroit with the second overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.
He appeared in every contest during his rookie campaign, finishing with 52 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three picks and a pair of fumble recoveries. He placed second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
The Lions went 11-6 and won the NFC North division title this season, representing their first division crown since 1993. Also, their victory over the Rams was their first playoff win since January 1992.
Now, Detroit will aim to advance to its first NFC Championship Game in over three decades.
We’ll see what Aidan Hutchinson does for an encore against the Buccaneers.