For the first time in a season and a half, a Green Bay Packers player was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week this week. Outside linebacker Preston Smith earned the award after recording three sacks, five total tackles, and a forced fumble.
The Packers’ defense stifled the Denver Broncos’ passing game on Sunday, forcing three turnovers and sacking quarterback Joe Flacco six times as a team. Smith accounted for one of those turnovers and half of the sacks all on his own, and he has come up with huge plays in every game so far this season. Smith hauled in an interception in week two and landed 1.5 sacks in the season opener.
Here’s the Packers’ announcement of the honor on Twitter:
Smith’s award prevented the Buccaneers’ Shaquil Barrett from earning the honor in back-to-back weeks. Barrett had four sacks and a pair of forced fumbles in the Bucs’ 32-21 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday and would have been a perfectly reasonable choice to repeat after he earned the award for a three-sack game in week three.
By earning this award, Preston became the Packers’ first recipient of the honor since Dean Lowry, who was DPOW for week 13 of the 2017 season. That game was a 26-20 overtime victory for the Packers, who beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field. In that contest, Lowry had four total tackles including one sack and two tackles for loss, and he also returned a fumble 62 yards for a touchdown.