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Lions dominate in first half, then hold off Commanders

Sep 18, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) celebrates a sack against  Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz (11) during the first half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Junfu Han-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Aidan Hutchinson and the Detroit Lions’ defense swarmed Washington quarterback Carson Wentz in the first half and then withstood a Commanders’ rally to hold on for a 36-27 victory Sunday in Detroit.

Jared Goff threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Amon-Ra St. Brown, who finished with nine receptions for 116 yards. St. Brown also had a 58-yard run on a fly sweep, which set up a second-half touchdown.

It was St. Brown’s eighth straight game with at least eight catches, which matches an NFL record established by the Steelers’ Antonio Brown in 2014 and matched by the Saints’ Michael Thomas in 2019.

Hutchinson, selected No. 2 overall in this year’s NFL draft, had the first three sacks of his career, leading a defense that held Washington (1-1) without a first down in the first 24-plus minutes as Detroit (1-1) surged to a 22-0 lead.

But with Hutchinson hobbled during the second half, Wentz got more comfortable. After throwing for just 59 yards in the first half, Wentz finished with 30 completions in 46 attempts for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

The Commanders pulled to within seven points and eight points on touchdowns in the second half. But Goff answered both times with touchdown passes.

D’Andre Swift, who was slowed by an ankle injury, caught one of the touchdown passes, going to the turf to make the grab on a swing pass, then springing to his feet and bolting to the end zone on a 22-yard play late in the third quarter that boosted Detroit’s lead to 29-15.

After the Commanders answered with a touchdown drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Antonio Gibson, Goff directed a 70-yard drive with four straight completions, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to St. Brown. Coming with 7 minutes left, the play gave Detroit a 36-21 lead.

Wentz directed another scoring drive, capped by rookie Jahan Dotson’s third touchdown reception in two games. Washington had a chance to make it a one-score game, but Joey Slye’s extra-point try sailed wide right, leaving the Commanders down by nine points with 1:56 left.

Detroit took an early lead on a 35-yard field goal by Austin Seibert. The score was set up by a 49-yard completion from Goff to St. Brown.

Charles Harris followed with a strip sack which produced a safety as Wentz fumbled out of the end zone.

On the ensuing free kick, Kalif Raymond ran 52 yards to the Commanders’ 31. Four plays later, Goff threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to St. Brown for a 12-0 lead.

After another three-and-out for the Washington offense, Goff made a 23-yard completion to Josh Reynolds to set up a 48-yard Seibert field goal.

Detroit increased its edge to 22-0 with a nine-play, 77-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown pass to Reynolds.

Detroit’s defense was so stout that Washington didn’t cross midfield until its opening drive of the second half.

–Field Level Media