CHARLOTTE – Defensive end Greg Hardy's starring role in the Panthers' dominant defensive effort last Sunday has earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
"I'm just going to keep doing what I do," Hardy said. "It's a great honor. I appreciate being recognized."
Hardy matched a career high with three sacks, all in the first half, and added two quarterback pressures to go with eight tackles in the Panthers' 38-0 victory over the New York Giants.
His teammates combined for four more sacks in the shutout. While Hardy said following the game that he was "in the zone," he acknowledged his teammates' invaluable role in his statistical output.
"You don't even understand how awesome it is to have a middle that can push the pocket, and the quarterback is right there once you beat your man," Hardy said. "I know I get the credit for the three sacks, but the DBs were covering everything, the linebackers were fitting, the tackles were inside working their behinds off.
"It was a phenomenal team effort."
The Panthers defense recorded the fifth regular season shutout in franchise history, tied a team record with seven sacks, forced three turnovers, and held the Giants to 150 net yards. It marked the first time since 2002 that an NFL team has scored 38 or more points in a shutout while recording at least seven sacks and three turnovers and holding the opponent to 150 yards.
Hardy, coming off a career year in which he posted 11 sacks, is the second Panther to win NFC Defensive Player of the Week over the last seven weeks dating back to last season. Linebacker Luke Kuechly was honored for his 19-tackle effort in a Week 14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, a performance that catapulted him to Defensive Rookie of the Year.
This is the sixth time a Panthers defensive end has won the award. Julius Peppers won it three times, and Mike Rucker won it twice.