For the first time in his 10-year NFL career, New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty was recognized Thursday as the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month.
McCourty enjoyed a wildly productive month of September, intercepting one pass in each of the Patriots’ first four games to tie Hall of Famer Mike Haynes for the longest streak in franchise history. No NFL player had opened a season with an interception in four straight games since Brian Russell did so for the Minnesota Vikings in 2003.
McCourty leads the NFL in interceptions through four weeks — his four picks equal his total from the previous four seasons combined — as do the Patriots as a team. New England defenders have picked off 10 passes thus far. No other team has more than five.
“The ball is finding me,” McCourty said Wednesday. “I was talking to (Philadelphia Eagles safety) Malcolm Jenkins last night. He texts me, and he’s like, ‘Man, you’ve got four interceptions.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, man. For a lot of years, the ball didn’t find me a lot.’ You could be in good position, you could play good football, but the ball doesn’t find you.”
The last Patriots defender to earn Player of the Month honors was defensive end Chandler Jones in 2013. Linebacker Kyle Van Noy received AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors on Wednesday after tallying eight tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in Sunday’s 16-10 win over the Buffalo Bills.