The NFL announced on Wednesday that Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner has been named the AFC’s Week 15 Defensive Player of the Week for his dominant interior performance against the Houston Texans:
Keeping this award another week.@DeForestBuckner is the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. pic.twitter.com/qVquxMkMAv— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) December 23, 2020
During the Colts’ 27-20 divisional win, Buckner had 4 tackles (3 solo), 3.0 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, 2 stops (which PFF labels a tackle that ‘constitutes a failure for the offense’), and 5 total QB pressures.
Per PFF, Buckner received a +80.0 overall grade for his standout Sunday performance—which included a +82.6 pass rushing grade.
Simply put, Buckner was a defensive monster for the Colts this past Sunday:
Noticed this watching the film this morning: Two of DeForest Buckner's three sacks yesterday came on plays he was double-teamed. Dude's a monster. Needs to be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. pic.twitter.com/5yIetmDqft— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 21, 2020
You would think that being arguably the league’s 2nd best defensive tackle behind the Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald this season would be enough to get Buckner onto the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster, but alas, he was snubbed—and that’s a heated discussion for another day.
Buckner has been consistently the Colts best defensive player all season. He has 52 tackles (33 solo), 7.5 sacks (tied for team high), 8 tackles for loss, a pass defensed, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and 47 total QB pressures during 13 games (12 starts).
Per PFF, Buckner’s earned a +89.6 overall grade this season, which is the 5th best among all interior defenders—featuring a +90.4 pass rushing grade.
At 6’7”, 295 pounds, the former 7th overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft utilizes his freakish combination of size, speed, strength, smooth footwork—and disrupting, long tentacle arms to wreak havoc in opposing teams’ backfields and passing pockets.
Buckner joins Colts cornerback Kenny Moore as a consecutive winner of the AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award, as the versatile slot cornerback earned the honors for Week 14.
Another Colts cornerback, Xavier Rhodes, was awarded AFC Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season for his strong Week 3 performance.