Lions’ Kerby Joseph Is First Player Ever To Accomplish This Feat

Kerby Joseph, Lions
NFL Analysis Network

The Detroit Lions are a team that is on the rise. There is a lot of young talent to get excited about, one of whom is safety, Kerby Joseph. They may not have made the playoffs this season, but they took a major step forward with their development, finishing with their first winning season since 2017.

Detroit finished 9-8, winning eight out of their last 10 games before spoiling the Green Bay Packers’ hopes in Week 18 at Lambeau Field. The offense found a lot of success this season as things have been figured out on that side of the ball with Jared Goff at quarterback. There are a ton of weapons surrounding him at the skill positions and the offensive line is among the best in the NFL.

For a large part of the season, that high-scoring offense was a necessity as the Lions gave up as many points as they scored. They were in weekly shootouts but as the defense got comfortable and figure things out, they began to win more games.

While the season-long rankings defensively are still unsightly, the progress by Aaron Glenn’s group was very encouraging. There are certainly some legitimate building blocks on that side of the ball with some standout performances by rookies.

One of the most impressive was safety Kirby Joseph, a third-round pick out of Illinois. He played in all 17 games, starting 14 of them, and put together a magnificent season. He became a near-every-down player on defense from Week 4 on after logging only special team snaps in Weeks 1-3.

Whenever he played against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, his game was taken to another level. In the first meeting, Kirby set career-highs for combined tackles and passes defended, registering 10 and three. He also had the first two interceptions of his career off the future Hall of Famer. On Sunday Night Football to close out the 2022 regular season, Joseph became a record holder.

He became the first rookie to intercept Rodgers three times in the same season, and had it not been for a penalty against the Lions, he would have had four. No reigning MVP has been intercepted three times by a rookie either according to OptaSTATS.

In addition to Kerby Joseph’s stellar performance, fellow rookie Aidan Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick, had 2.0+ sacks against the Packers. They are the first rookie duo to record that many sacks with an interception against any former MVP in the same game since sacks became a recorded stat in 1982.

Kerby Joseph and Hutchinson are two great building blocks for the Lions defensively, but they are not alone. James Houston had a record-setting start to his career as a pass rusher and Malcolm Rodriguez earned a starting spot with a stellar training camp.

Good things are on the horizon for this defense as they also have Jeff Okudah, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft in the secondary. He was finally able to showcase some of the skills that led to him being selected that high playing in 15 games this season after appearing in only 10 in his first two seasons combined.