Giants’ Leonard Williams wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week

Leonard Williams Giants
Giants defensive end Leonard Williams.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The resurgence of Leonard Williams hit a new level on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks as his 2.5 sacks of Russell Wilson was good enough to earn him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Now up to 8.5 sacks this season, the 26-year-old has more sacks in 2020 than he had over the last three seasons combined — struggles that saw the New York Jets give up on the defensive end and send him to the Giants for a pair of draft picks.

The Giants certainly seem to be getting the better end of that deal right now, adding further embarrassment to a Jets team that isn’t short of indignations as the only winless team in the NFL this year.

Williams is one of the headliners of a Giants defense that continues to trend upward with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham with their best performance of the season coming against the Seahawks.

Against the league’s third-highest scoring offense, the Giants held Seattle to a season-low 12 points while sacking Wilson five times in total for a combined loss of 47 yards. Their third-down defense, which was often a liability in recent years, held the Seahawks to just four conversions out of 15 third-down attempts while they yielded just one drive over 57 yards.

Each of Williams’ sacks came during the second half in critical circumstances.

In the third quarter, he sacked Wilson for a 15-yard loss to help force a Seattle punt before teaming up with Jabaal Sheard for a fourth-quarter takedown. On Seattle’s final drive down five with 48 seconds to go in the game, Williams got Wilson for a 10-yard loss on a third down to force a final, desperate heave that fell incomplete and secured New York’s most impressive win of the season.

This is the first time a Giants player received Defensive Player of the Week honors since cornerback Janoris Jenkins in Week 4 of the 2019 season after he picked off a pair of passes against the Washington Football Team.