Following a standout performance against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16, Ravens’ defensive back Kyle Hamilton has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. This is the first time the sophomore safety has earned player of the week honors and almost certainly will not be the last.
Hamilton made a game-changing defensive impact against the 49ers with two interceptions in the first half along with five total tackles and three passes defended. He did all this before exiting later in the game with an aggravated knee injury, so his production ultimately could have been even better, too.
His first interception off quarterback Brock Purdy came on San Francisco’s opening drive of the game. After they quickly moved into the red zone, Hamilton jumped a Deebo Samuel route and snagged Purdy’s pass attempt in the end zone, returning it for a few additional yards.
Then, in the second quarter, Hamilton intercepted a deflected pass by Marlon Humphrey intended for tight end George Kittle. On that play, Hamilton was initially out of the picture after being chop-blocked by Christian McCaffrey and then sandwiched onto the ground by an offensive lineman. However, Hamilton rose back up and put himself in position to secure the lofted loose ball when it was high in the air.
These marked Hamilton’s third and fourth interceptions of the season. On top of this, he made his usual strong plays around the line of scrimmage as a run-stopper, blitzer, and open-field tackler. His playmaking prowess, though, stole the show and seized momentum for the Ravens in the first half.
The buzz for Hamilton as one of the league’s best safeties has continued to build as the season has progressed. Following a standout showing on Christmas Day — in the second-most viewed Monday Night Football game ever — and player of the week honors, the apex of the hype build-up may be now.