Darius Leonard’s monster game earns him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 16: Tight end Jordan Reed #86 of the Washington Redskins is tackled by linebacker Darius Leonard #53 of the Indianapolis Colts during the second half at FedExField on September 16, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his spectacular performance against the Washington Redskins Sunday.

Leonard is just the fourth Colts rookie to win the award, joining defensive end Steve Emtman (Week 8, 1992), defensive end Dwight Freeney (Week 10, 2002) and outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome (Week 17, 2014).

During the Colts’ 21-9 win over Washington, Leonard was everywhere. He was credited with 18 tackles (15 solo), a tackle for loss, a sack, a pass defensed and a forced fumble that proved a key moment in the game. He had the most tackles by a Colts player since October 2011, when Kavell Conner also racked up 18 tackles. Leonard’s 18 tackles are the most ever for an Indianapolis Colts rookie, according to Colts statistics dating back to 1985.

During his rookie season, Leonard has 27 tackles (21 solo), a tackle for loss, a sack, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He leads the entire NFL in total tackles and solo tackles. He’s the only player in the NFL with 20+ total tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 2018.

Leonard is the first Colts player to earn AFC Player of the Week honors in the young season. Last year, kicker Adam Vinatieri was chosen as AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 5 and T.Y. Hilton earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 9.