Fennelly: Landon Collins named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Second Straight Game

Giants safety Landon Collins was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday. It was the second time he’s received the honor this season. He was also recognized for his play against the Rams two weeks ago in London.

Collins is having a Pro Bowl season. He leads the Giants in tackles, sacks and interceptions and leads all NFL safeties in tackles. He has started every game since being joining the club as a rookie in 2015 and has been on the field for 596 of the Giants’ 601 defensive snaps (99.2%) this season.

The former Alabama star that slipped to the second round in last year’s draft has overcome a rocky rookie season to become one of the game’s top safeties and the de facto leader of this revived Giants defense.

“All our mindset is, is that defense wins championships,” Collins said after the win over Philly. “We were called upon again to make a play, make a stop and that is what we strive on. Everybody knows what they’re doing. Everybody knows the details, the concepts, where we need help at and where we need to be at on defense and making those plays. We’re playing fast and we are not thinking.”

The Giants held the Eagles to just 3 of 15 on third downs and stopped them on three of four of their fourth down attempts. Collins described the attitude of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s bunch.

“Just hungry. Just hungry for it,” he said. “They tried us. If you are going to try us, we are going to bring everything to you and you are going to have to really fight for those yards. We are not just going to give it to you.”

The Giants have found their new defensive stud and leader in Collins. The team is no longer a joke. They are being given leads and they are preserving them. The Giants have won five games this season and none by a margin of more than six points.

Here is the official lowdown on Collins’ performance vs the Eagles:

Collins is the first defensive player to win player of the week awards in consecutive games since Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman in 2012, and the first safety since Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu in 2010.

Against the Eagles, Collins led the Giants with 12 tackles (six solo) and recorded his third interception in two games when he picked off a Carson Wentz pass intended for Nelson Agholor on the second play of the game. Two plays later, Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr. hooked up for the Giants’ first touchdown, giving the Giants a lead they never lost.

In addition to his interception, Collins sacked Wentz for a 12-yard loss on the final play of the first half. He is the first Giants player with an interception and a sack in the same game since defensive end Kerry Wynn did it at St. Louis on Dec. 21, 2014, and the first defensive back to do it since safety Antrel Rolle on Oct. 27, 2013, at Philadelphia. On the season, Collins leads the Giants in tackles (69), sacks (3.0) and interceptions (3). He is the only player in the NFL to lead his team in all three categories in this season.

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