Jaguars LB Telvin Smith named AFC defensive player of the week

Smith had a 28-yard INT return for a TD against Steelers

By Brian Jackson - Digital sports reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After finishing with a game-high 10 tackles and a 28-yard INT returned for a TD during last Sunday’s win at Pittsburgh, Jaguars LB Telvin Smith was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. The Jaguars defense turned in a dominant performance forcing the Steelers into five turnovers. 

This marks Smith’s third time winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, the most by a defender in Jaguars history. Including last Sunday, Smith has forced a turnover in three of the last four games. 

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).

"It’s well deserved.  He’s done a nice job," Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. "I think that he has improved in the run game. I really do. Not that he was poor in it, but I think he’s done a very good job in the run game. I see him getting better and better each week, becoming more physical, becoming more instinctive and being able to make plays."

Smith wasn’t the only Jaguars to get a pick-six against Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. On the following possession safety Barry Church returned an interception for a 51-yard 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).

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