Colts linebacker Darius Leonard on Wednesday was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 15.
Leonard led the Colts with 10 tackles in Saturday's 27-17 win over the New England Patriots and tallied a critical interception of Mac Jones in the red zone – after which he delivered a vicious stiff-arm to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Leonard also forced his league-leading sixth fumble in a win that pushed the Colts to 8-6 on the season.
Leonard's 10 tackles were key in limiting Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson to just 36 yards on 10 carries.
With his interception and forced fumble on Saturday, Leonard became the only player in at least the last 30 years to have 15 forced fumbles and 10 interceptions over the first five seasons of a career. Leonard, of course, is currently in just his fourth season in the NFL.
Leonard has had a hand in 12 of the Colts' 31 takeaways this season.
"He is elite at his position," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. "He is the best linebacker in the game. He's a turnover machine. You can count on him every game to at least knock a ball out, get a pick, whatever it is. He's going to end up with one takeaway."
This is the fourth time Leonard has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, with his previous honors coming in Weeks 2 and 17 of the 2018 season, and Week 17 of the 2020 season.
Leonard is the first Colts player to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week in 2021. Running back Jonathan Taylor won AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 11, while punter Rigoberto Sanchez won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Weeks 4 and 7, while linebacker E.J. Speed won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 10.