The Detroit Lions proved their determination and worth this season, after being considered the worst team in the league the year before. The Michigan team ended the season with a 9-8 record, which is their first winning season since 2017.
Another accomplishment was made by their special teams, which was ranked number six among the best of the NFL. “Detroit finished second in the NFL in average starting position (27-yard line) following kickoffs. They had 85.3 percent of their kickoff returns total 20-plus yards, which was the highest percentage in the NFL this season,” said the Lion’s senior writer, Tim Twentyman.
It seems that Dan Campbell’s preseason statement that, “The 2022 Detroit Lions will be the team that can and will,” was right after all. Rookie defensive lineman, Aidan Hutchinson, was a force to be reckoned with throughout the season. His most notable stats of the season included his nine and a half sacks, two fumble recoveries, and three interceptions. Now, Hutchinson is nominated for Pepsi’s Rookie of the Year, which will be announced on the night of Super Bowl LVII.
Alongside Hutchinson was rookie line-backer, Malcom Rodriguez. Benjamin Raven from Mlive states that, “Malcolm Rodriguez led all rookies with 12 tackles for loss or no gain. Not too shabby for a sixth-round pick.” The 23-year old Oklahoma State alum had 87 total tackles, 62 total tackles, and 25 assisted tackles just in his first year.
The 2022-2023 season is QB Jared Goff’s second with the Detroit Lions. With the help of Ben Johnson, Detroit’s offensive coordinator, they were able to create one of the top offenses of the NFL. Goff was able to accumulate 29 touchdown passes throughout the season, which ended up tied for fourth within a single season. According to Christian Booher of All Lions Fan Nation, “Behind Goff, the Lions finished fifth in the league in points and fourth in yards. This marked the best statistical finish for Detroit offensively since the 2011 season, when it finished fourth in points and fifth in yards.”
Linebacker Alex Anzalone also just finished his second season with the Lions. This was considered to be his career-best season, and adding the achievement of being the team’s first LB to earn 125 tackles and seven tackles for loss since 2014’s DeAndre Levy. Not only was it a tough season for Detroit the year before, but it was for Anzalone as well. After 14 weeks of being starting linebacker, he suffered a shoulder injury and was placed on injured reserve. Early in the 2022 season, he was able to join the team once again and signed a one year contract. Now, that contract is up and he is a free-agent. As of right now, it is rumored that he has plans to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Lions.
With the improvements that the Detroit Lions made in the latter half of the season, we can only hope that it follows them into the 2023-24 season along with the new players that they add to the team from the NFL draft.