The New England Patriots offense struggled for the first three quarters against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, falling behind 20-0 before a late but ultimately unsuccessful rally. Before two late touchdowns, however, the unit failed to find its footing, in part because of standout individual performances by its opponent.
One player in particular stands out: Colts linebacker Darius Leonard. The former second-round draft pick recorded a game-high 10 tackles, forced a fumble by Patriots rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson, and also caught a red zone interception against first-year starting quarterback Mac Jones.
Indianapolis went on to win 27-17, putting an end to the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak.
As a result of his impressive performance, Leonard has now been named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week. The award is the fourth of its kind for Leonard, after he already earned two trophies as a rookie in 2018 and another last season.