Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short wasn’t concerned about making mistakes when he faced Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks offense last week.
And that may have contributed to his winning this week’s NFC Defensive Player of the Week award Wednesday.
“I was just playing and wasn’t really worried about if I mess up or not,” Short said. “I knew what I had to do and what I had to take care of.”
Short turned in a two-sack performance against the Seahawks and batted down a Wilson pass en route to earning his first weekly honor – and the first such honor for a Panthers defensive tackle in team history.
Short, in his third season out of Purdue, has been the most consistent defensive tackle for Carolina this year and the most disruptive tackle in passing situations.
Both sacks of Wilson came on third downs, including one on Seattle’s penultimate drive that forced the Seahawks to punt to Carolina with just more than 2 minutes left.
“We were disciplined,” Short said of sacking Wilson. “We went in that week just knowing he was going to be the difference-maker in the game, and we just had to contain him, keep him in the pocket, make him step up and scramble in the middle instead of outside. And you had (the defensive ends) contain him and ... (Wilson) stepped up right into my arms.”
Pro Football Focus ranked Short as the second-best defensive interior lineman in the NFL in Week 6 behind only reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
PFF credited short with six quarterback disruptions and “some strong work in the run game.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera agreed.
“He was disruptive. He held the point (of attack) very nicely,” Rivera said. “He made plays. And it’s interesting because he benefited very greatly from the play of the other guys around him.”
Short joins cornerback Josh Norman as the only Panthers to be named NFC players of the week this season. Norman won the award in Week 4 and also was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.