JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars fourth-year LB Telvin Smith has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 5 after finishing with a game-high 10 tackles and a 28-yard INT returned for a TD last Sunday at Pittsburgh. This marks Smith’s third time winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, the most by a defender in Jaguars history. Smith is the second Jaguars player to win AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors this season, joining DE Calais Campbell in Week 1, who registered 4.0 sacks in his debut for Jacksonville.
Smith, who also serves as a team captain for the Jaguars, has registered a takeaway in three of the last four games after making an INT on Sunday against Pittsburgh, recovering a fumble in Week 3 vs. Baltimore and getting an INT in Week 2 vs. Tennessee. Smith is the only player this season to make at least 10 tackles and a defensive TD in the same game and the first since Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson in Week 3 of the 2016 season. The pick-six was the second of his career and his first since scoring on a 26-yard INT return against Buffalo’s E.J. Manuel on Oct. 25, 2015. Smith has now registered four INTs in his last eight games, tied for the most in the NFL over that span (CB Jalen Ramsey also has four INTs since Week 15 of the 2016 season). Smith has been credited with at least five tackles in seven of his last eight games and he’s registered a takeaway in three of the last four games after his INT against Pittsburgh, recovering a fumble in Week 3 vs. Baltimore and getting an INT in Week 2 vs. Tennessee.
After Smith’s 28-yard INT return for a TD in the third quarter, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger threw another INT on the following possession that was returned by S Barry Church 51 yards for a score. Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh marked the first time the team has scored on defense on back-to-back possessions since Oct. 25, 2015 against Buffalo in London. The two pick-sixes in one quarter by the Jaguars marks the first such occurrence in the NFL since 2015 (Arizona; Sept. 27, 2015; first quarter).
Since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Smith is one of three NFL players, joining Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David and Baltimore’s C.J. Mosley, to register 350 tackles (385), three fumble recoveries (four), three forced fumbles (three) and three INTs (six). Smith’s two INTs returned for a TD are tied for the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014, and his 349 tackles since taking over as a starter in Week 12 of the 2014 season are the second-most in the NFL over that span.