INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have the NFL's best defense through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, and now it's starting to get a little recognition.
The league announced today that veteran cornerback Xavier Rhodes has been named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week for his standout performance in last Sunday's 36-7 Week 3 victory over the New York Jets at Lucas Oil Stadium.
It's the first Player of the Week award for the Colts this season, and the second time in Rhodes' career he's been named the Defensive Player of the Week; he was the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week back in Week 11 of the 2016 season when he was with the Minnesota Vikings.
Rhodes had a stellar all-around performance last Sunday against the Jets. He picked off quarterback Sam Darnold's second pass attempt of the day and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, and later added his second interception of the day with 5:29 left in the second quarter, picking off Darnold in the end zone as he tried to connect with wide receiver Lawrence Cager.
The Colts would later add a third interception — and second pick-six — as fellow cornerback T.J. Carrie picked off a Darnold pass late in the third quarter and returned it 47 yards for a touchdown.
Rhodes, in all, had one tackle, two interceptions and two passes defensed on the day, earning an elite pass defense grade of 94.0 from Pro Football Focus. Rhodes' pick-six of Darnold early in the first quarter, the second of Rhodes' career, represented his 75th career pass defensed.
Signed to a one-year free agent deal earlier this offseason after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Vikings, where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a First-Team All-Pro honoree in 2017, Rhodes this season has three total tackles, two interceptions and three passes defensed. In all, Rhodes has 375 career tackles (15 for a loss) with 12 interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), 76 passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
He's the first Colts player to earn Player of the Week honors since running back/returner Nyheim Hines was named the AFC's Special Teams Player of the Week last season in Week 16, and he's Indy's first AFC Defensive Player of the Week honoree since defensive end Justin Houston in Week 5 last year.
The last time a Colts cornerback earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors was in Week 9 of the 2015 season, when Darius Butler had the game-clinching interception in Indy's 27-24 victory over Peyton Manning and the previously-undefeated Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium.