As Robert Mathis leaves the NFL, he received a bit of a going away present from the league today: he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for week 17, the final game of his illustrious career.
Mathis’s game on Sunday against the Jaguars can basically be summed up by one play: his fourth quarter strip-sack of Blake Bortles, a play on which he also recovered the fumble. It was a fitting way for the veteran to go out, as he is the NFL’s all-time leader in strip-sacks with 47. On the day, Mathis recorded three tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
This is the fifth time that Robert Mathis has won the Defensive Player of the Week award and the first since week 16 of last season. He also received the award in week 7 of 2005, week 13 of 2008, and week 16 of 2011. His five such awards tie him with Dwight Freeney for the most Defensive Player of the Week awards in Colts history. This particular Player of the Week award is likely influenced greatly by the fact that it was Mathis’s final NFL game, commemorating the moment and the fitting nature of his strip-sack more than anything. But it’s still a nice honor for Mathis as he heads into retirement.
Not surprisingly, this was the first time all year that a Colts player had earned the Defensive Player of the Week award. Mathis joins Andrew Luck (Offensive Player of the Week in week 13), Adam Vinatieri (Special Teams Player of the Week in week 5), and Jordan Todman (Special Teams Player of the Week in week 9) as Colts to earn Player of the Week honors this year, while Vinatiei was also named the Player of the Month in October.