Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard was named ‘AFC Defensive Player of the Week’ for his standout Week 15 performance against the New England Patriots, as his stellar play helped propel the Colts to a 27-17 crucial upset victory:
‘The Maniac’ finished with 10 tackles (8 solo), a tackle for loss, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble, and a QB hit—playing 99% (67 snaps) of the Colts total defensive snaps this past Saturday night in a winning effort.
Per PFF (subscription), Leonard earned a +77.1 overall grade during Week 15—featuring an exceptional run defense grade of 85.6.
On the season, Leonard has 107 tackles (68 solo), 4 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 7 passes defensed, 6 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 3 QB hits during 14 starts.
Leonard is not only looking like he’ll earn his 4th consecutive annual NFL All-Pro honor, but he also should be in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year conversation with 11 takeaways in 2021:
Colts DT DeForest Buckner today, speaking on Darius Leonard: "He IS the best linebacker in the game. He has, what, 12 turnovers this season and we have 30 as a team? He is elite."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 21, 2021
Leonard is the first Colts defensive player to earn the weekly award so far this season, and it’s his 4th time earning the impressive accolade in his early ‘Canton-bound’ 4-year career. He previously earned it in Week 17 of 2020 and 2018, as well as Week 2 of 2018.
He’s not done yet though, as that number is clearly ‘and counting’ for the Colts.