INDIANAPOLIS — Not surprisingly, Darius Leonard's NFL coming-out party is resulting in some national attention.
The Indianapolis Colts linebacker today was announced as a nominee for the NFL's Rookie of the Week award. Fans can vote — and vote often — for Leonard, who is one of five candidates, by clicking here.
Leonard was everywhere for the Colts' defense on Sunday, tallying a game-best 18 tackles — an astounding 15 of which were solo stops — in Indy's 21-9 road victory over the Washington Redskins at FedExField.
Those figures alone are impressive, but the South Carolina State product was sure to display his versatility as a playmaker in other areas, too. He also logged his first-career sack, forced fumble and pass breakup, all in Sunday's game.
"I mean, what, 18 tackles, a sack — you know, unbelievable. A pass defended, forced fumble, the guy— you love him," Colts head coach Frank Reich said about Leonard's performance. "I remember [general manager] Chris Ballard talking about him and having his eyes on him in the draft. Not just talking about this guy's playmaking ability, his athletic ability, but the kind of football character we want on this team.
"Man, what a day."
What a day, indeed. Leonard's 18 tackles in one game are the most by a Colts player since Kavell Conner had 18 stops Oct. 3, 2011, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; they're the most tackles in a game by a Colts rookie, meanwhile, since 1994.
Led by Leonard, the results of the Colts defense's work certainly showed up on the stat sheet, as well. The Colts (1-1) held the Redskins (1-1) to just 65 yards rushing and a 3.0 yards-per-carry average, one week after Washington racked up 182 yards rushing and a 4.3 yards-per-carry average in a big win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Colts also did not allow a touchdown all day, including defending against two trips to the red zone.
It was all a day's work for Leonard, who leads the entire league in tackles (27) through Week 2.
"Yeah, I'm just working hard and taking each play, play-by-play," Leonard said after Sunday's game. "I'm just trying to help my team win."