Mathias Kiwanuka was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his outstanding performance against the Steelers. The third-year pro from Boston College had three of the Giants' five sacks of Ben Roethlisberger, five total tackles, three tackles for losses, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble. He sacked Roethlisberger twice in the decisive fourth quarter. The five sacks increased the Giants' season total to 25, jumping them into the league lead, one ahead of the Steelers.
"It's definitely something that I am proud of," Kiwanuka said. "As long as I use it and move forward and not take any steps back, then yeah, at the end of the season I can look back and reflect on it, but right now it's not the time for that. I'm honored that I got it and appreciate all the accolades, but that's something I will reflect on in the offseason."
This is Kiwanuka's first Player of the Week award. Osi Umenyiora was named Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2007: Week 4 vs. Philadelphia (six sacks) and Week 7 vs. San Francisco (touchdown on a 75-yard fumble return). Umenyiora suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason and was replaced by Kiwanuka, who moved back to end from strongside linebacker.
Prior to Umenyiora being honored, Michael Strahan had received each of the four previous Defensive Player of the Week awards won by Giants. The last Giants player at a position other than end to win the award was safety Percy Ellsworth in Week 16 in 1998.
Kiwanuka is the second Giant to be honored this season. Kicker John Carney was the Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking four field goals, including an overtime game-winner, in Week 3 vs. Cincinnati.
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