Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month, the National Football League office announced on Thursday. The monthly accolade is his first since being named NFL Rookie of the Month for October in 2012. He is also the first Chargers defensive back to win the award since Antonio Cromartie in 2007.
Hayward shut down opposing receivers in November. The 2016 Pro Bowler paced the NFL in the month by recording three interceptions. Hayward also totaled eight tackles, including one for a loss, and broke up seven passes.
Against Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, Hayward allowed just 22 yards and three catches on seven targets, and totaled his third interception in a five-day span. Against the Bills, Hayward picked off two passes while allowing only one reception on eight targets to force a 0.0 passer rating on balls thrown in his direction.
The 2012 second round pick led the NFL in 2016 with seven interceptions en route to his first Pro Bowl selection. Hayward enters Week 13 with four interceptions this season and 11 since the start of 2016. That total leads the NFL while his four interceptions this season ranks tied for third. The Vanderbilt product is the highest graded (96.8) cornerback in the league this season according to Pro Football Focus.
The award is the second of the season for a Bolts player as Melvin Ingram garnered the accolade for the opening month of the season. This marks the first time since 1992 that the Chargers have had two AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors in the same season.