The NFL today announced that Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for December. This marks the fourth time Mathis has earned the award in his career and the second time this season (October).
In the month of December, Mathis compiled 19 tackles (15 solo), 5.0 sacks and four forced fumbles as the Colts went 4-1. His 5.0 sacks in the month ranked first in the AFC while the four forced fumbles ranked tied for first in the NFL with Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
In a Week 13 victory over Tennessee (12/1), Mathis recorded a sack-forced fumble and set a new franchise record for most games with at least half of a sack (82), topping Dwight Freeney’s previous record. Two weeks later in a win over Houston (12/15), Mathis posted a sack-forced fumble and set the Colts all-time career and single-season sack records. In Week 16 at Kansas City (12/22), he registered five tackles (four solo), 1.0 sack and two forced fumbles, which tied his single-season career-high with eight forced fumbles (2005). In the regular season finale against Jacksonville (12/29), Mathis tallied seven tackles (five solo) and 2.0 sacks, claiming the NFL’s sack title with 19.5 for the year.
Mathis finished the regular season with 65 tackles (54 solo), a career-high and league-leading 19.5 sacks and tied a career-high with eight forced fumbles. His sack total ranks 20th in NFL history and fifth among active players. Mathis also holds an NFL record with 43 sack-forced fumbles in his career.
Mathis is the first Colts player to earn multiple AFC Player of the Month honors in a single season since kicker Mike Vanderjagt won the award in three consecutive months in 2003 (October-December).
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