Going up against his former team in Week 8, Adrian Phillips played one of the best games of his career. The veteran safety caught two interceptions versus the Los Angeles Chargers, including one that he returned 26 yards for a decisive fourth-quarter touchdown.
Phillips therefore played a key role in helping the New England Patriots’ defeat the Chargers 27-24 on the road.
Now, the NFL recognized him for his efforts on Sunday: the league announced him as the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. It is the first such honor earned by Phillips in his eight-year career.
“Everybody always wants to kind of stick it to their former team,” Phillips said after the game. “This is a great organization that we played against [on Sunday], and just to be able to go out there and play against them and end up having the game that I had, it was sweet. I loved it. Yeah, it was sweet.”
“AP works his butt off, and to have the kind of game that he had [on Sunday] was huge,” added fellow safety Devin McCourty. “He’s a key part of our defense. I think everyone here saw that last year, the impact that he had, and he’s continuing to do that.”
The 29-year-old, who is in his second season since joining the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent, has now become the first member of the team to earn a Player of the Week trophy on the defensive side of the ball since linebacker Kyle Van Noy in Week 4 of the 2019 season. He is the first defensive back to do so since James Sanders all the way back in 2010.
This season, the Patriots have seen one of their players get honored among the conference’s standout performers: kicker Nick Folk earned the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award after his four-field-goal performance against the Houston Texans.