Cardinals linebacker Dwight Freeney, here sacking Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last weekend, has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Dwight Freeney collected three sacks in a game for the first time since 2006 when he led the Cardinals' sack party Sunday against the Packers, and it made sense the veteran linebacker was smiling when it was over.
"Some of the reasons I came back was to play with those types of guys," said Freeney, who was near retirement before the Cards signed him in October. "Just to have that feeling of a dominating, dominating
defense. I think we're in the top five in a lot of categories. I've never been on a defense that has so many top five, against the run, against the pass, total defense. So it's really a pleasure, and I love playing with these guys."
That love manifested itself into harassment of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, with his big game earning Freeney the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week award.
Freeney, who played with the Colts and Chargers previously, won the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award five times, all with Indianapolis. He last won an award in 2010.
It is the sixth player of the week award the Cards have won this season, and the second straight week a Cardinal has taken the conference's defensive award. Safety Deone Bucannon won last week for his big game in Philadelphia.
Freeney, who leads the Cardinals with seven sacks despite playing just 10 games since arriving in Week 6, notched sacks with each of his moves – a spin move, a bull rush and a sprint around the end.
Freeney's stats highlighted the nine sacks the Cardinals piled up against Green Bay, the most the team has had in a game since a 10-sack game in 1986. The Cardinals' defense notched more sacks (9) than they allowed points (8).
Safety Tyrann Mathieu also won this season for the Cards' defense, for his performance against the 49ers in Week 3. The Cardinals have had two special teams winners (kick returner David Johnson Week 2 against the Bears and kicker Chandler Catanzaro Week 14 against the Vikings). Interestingly, their franchise record-setting offense has earned only one honor (wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Week 2 against the Bears.)