FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Linebacker Dont'a Hightower has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week by the National Football League for his performance in the Patriots' 35-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. It is the first time in his career that he has earned the honor. It is the first AFC Defensive Player of the Week award for the Patriots since Week 2 the 2014 season when DL Chandler Jones earned the award.
Hightower finished the game with a team-high 13 total tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, including one sack that resulted in a safety and two quarterback hits. Hightower dropped Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton in the end zone for an eight-yard sack and a safety in the third quarter. It marks his second career NFL points. Hightower returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown in his very first NFL game at Tennessee on Sept. 9, 2012. He registered a 10-tackle performance for the 14th time in his career.
It is the fifth time this season that a Patriots player has earned an NFL honor in 2016. K Stephen Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in the win at Arizona on Sept. 11, and P Ryan Allen was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance vs. Houston on Sept. 22. RB LeGarrette Blount was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September and QB Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week following the Cleveland game on Oct. 9.