While the New England Patriots defense saw its touchdown-free streak come to an end against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the unit delivered another very good performance in a hostile environment. The Bills were held to just 10 points on the day, with the Patriots registering four takeaways — all of which interceptions — as well as five sacks. Two of those quarterback takedowns came courtesy of linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Van Noy had a spectacular day against Buffalo. Not only did he sack both of the Bills’ quarterbacks — Josh Allen and Matt Barkley — once, he also registered a combined four hits against the two passers and forced a pair of fumbles to go along with his eight tackles. On one of his quarterback hits, the 28-year-old forced Barkley into throwing the game-clinching interception to fellow linebacker Jamie Collins.
As a result of his marvelous performance, Van Noy has now been named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. Playing in his sixth year in the league, the award marks the first of its kind that the former Detroit Lions second-round draft pick has earned. It also makes him the first Patriots defender since Dont’a Hightower to win the trophy: Hightower was honored as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Week back in 2016.
A member of the Patriots has now won Player of the Week two weeks in a row: after last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, rookie punter Jake Bailey earned the award for special teams.