Casey Hayward named AFC defensive player of the month

Casey Hayward was announced this morning as the November AFC defensive player of the month. He's the first Chargers defensive back to win the award since Antonio Cromartie all the way back in 2007.

Hayward has been lights out in coverage this year, earning Pro Football Focus' highest grade among all cornerbacks. This November he has three interceptions, eight tackles, and seven pass breakups, all while rarely seeing the ball thrown his way because of his shutdown coverage.

On Thanksgiving, Hayward was targeted seven times while guarding Dez Bryant, allowing just three catches for 22 yards while intercepting Dak Prescott. The week prior, he intercepted two passes against the Bills and only allowed one catch on eight targets. Hayward led the NFL in interceptions last year with seven and was selected to the pro-bowl.

Hayward's award comes just a month after defensive end Melvin Ingram received the same award last month. Hayward's play has been a large part of the Chargers' defense becoming one of the league's best units under Gus Bradley. If he can continue his stellar play from the last two seasons, the Chargers secondary should remain a force for years to come.

The award comes at a difficult time for Hayward, as he lost his brother Jecaives in a car accident earlier this week. Hayward is back with his family in Georgia now, although coach Anthony Lynn seemed to indicate that he is still planning on playing this weekend against the Browns.

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