Call this the least surprising Giants news of the week. Kayvon Thibodeaux was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week by the NFL on Wednesday following a dominating performance against the Washington Commanders on Sunday night.
The accolades are the first of Thibodeaux’s young career and came following a week where he recorded a career and game-high 12 tackles, nine of which were solo and three for a loss. One of his biggest plays came in the second quarter when he strip-sacked Taylor Heinicke, recovered the loose football and got into the end zone for a touchdown.
It was the first defensive TD for the Giants since Nov. 7, 2021, when Xavier McKinney returned an interception 41 yards for a touchdown. Thibodeaux made another crucial play in the final two minutes chasing down Heinicke to keep him out of the end zone.
“I thought he gave obviously a lot of juice,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said. “That play that he made down there when they were backed up kind of changed the tide a little bit in the early part of the game. He is a very talented player and he played like it”
More than just Sunday, Thibodeaux has quickly become a force on defense in his rookie season. Thibodeaux is tied for third on the Giants with 3.0 sacks and is second on the team with 11 quarterback hits. He has 38 tackles, 24 of which are solo, including four for loss and three passes defended. Additionally, Thibodeaux has two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries this season.
“I think he has consistently improved throughout the year,” Daboll said. “I’ve said this before, I’m glad we drafted him. I’m glad he is a part of the team. I think he has gotten better each week. He’s a big part of our defense”
The honor marked the first time a Giants player has been given Defensive Player of the Week since Leonard Williams in the final week of the 2020 season.