The NFL announced this morning that Colts outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Colts' win over the Titans in week 17 - in his first career start at the rush linebacker spot.
Newsome started in place of the injured Bjoern Werner and recorded eight tackles (a career-high), two sacks (tying a career-high), and a forced fumble. It's the first time in his short career that Newsome has been named Defensive Player of the Week, and he's the first Colts' rookie to earn the honor since Dwight Freeney in 2002.
On the season, Newsome finished with 34 tackles and a team-high 6.5 sacks, along with three forced fumbles. He finished second in the NFL in sacks among rookies and his 6.5 sacks rank as the third-highest total by a rookie in Colts' history. He's the first Colts rookie to lead the team in sacks since Freeney did so in 2002. He showed great promise and will hopefully continue to develop into a legitimate pass rush threat - which he showed at times this season he could be.
Newsome joins quarterback Andrew Luck (Offensive Player of the Week - week three), punter Pat McAfee (Special Teams Player of the Week - week six), and inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson (Defensive Player of the Week - week thirteen) as Colts to win the Player of the Week honor this season. In addition, McAfee was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for the month of September and Luck was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month in November.