BY: ED COLE
TEMPE, Ariz. – Exceptional people, more often than not, are rewarded for what they’re exceptional at.
Cardinals cornerback/safety Tyrann Mathieu is exceptional at his job, so he was rewarded by the NFL with his first-ever “NFC Defensive Player of the Month” award for the month of November.
Mathieu had a big November, and so did the Cardinals. They were undefeated in the month (4-0), and Mathieu was a big contributor to that. In the four games against the Browns, Seahawks, Bengals and 49ers, Mathieu had a total of 27 tackles (24 solo), two interceptions and five passes defensed. In last Sunday’s win over San Francisco, Mathieu had a career-high and team-high 13 tackles, including one for loss and he also had an interception. Mathieu was the only defensive back in the league in November to have 25+ tackles and two or more interceptions.
So far through 11 games this season, Mathieu is tied for the team lead with a career-high four interceptions, and he’s third on the team with a career-high 70 tackles. Mathieu’s the only player in the NFL with at least 70 tackles and four interceptions.
Mathieu’s the second player in franchise history to be named “Defensive Player of the Month” (safety Kwamie Lassiter, 2001). Besides Mathieu, the Cardinals have had a “Player of the Month” seven other times since the award began in 1986: Quarterback Neil Lomax (October 1988), quarterback Boomer Esiason (November 1996), Lassiter (November 2001), kicker Neil Rackers (October and December 2005), punt returner Patrick Peterson (November 2011) and special teamer Justin Bethel (December 2014).