Over the first four weeks of the NFL’s 2019 regular season, 79 players have intercepted at least one pass. Only two of those players have more than two picks on their résumés: New England Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins, who has ended up with three of the opponents’ pass attempts, and the team’s starting free safety and captain Devin McCourty, who got his hands on a league-leading four footballs in four games.
As a result of his outstanding start into the year, McCourty has now been named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month for September — the first time in his career that the veteran has received this honor. In fact, the 32-year-old is the first Patriot to receive the award in almost six years: the last member of the team to be named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Month was Chandler Jones in November 2013.
McCourty’s play, of course, is a big reason for New England’s defensive start. One quarter into the season, the unit has surrendered just 13 total points and is leading the league in most meaningful defensive statistics — including interceptions, of which McCourty has caught four. Registering one pick in each game through Week 4, the three-time world champion is the first player to achieve this feat since 2003.
McCourty now is the third Patriots player to be honored by the NFL this season: rookie punter Jake Bailey was named the AFC Special Teams Player of Week 3; linebacker Kyle Van Noy the conference’s Defensive Player of Week 4.