If Kuechly ends up as the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (and he's a very strong contender), you can point to Week 16 as the award clincher. With the stakes at their highest, Kuechly took over.
"I didn't really see (Brees); I just saw the ball come out," Kuechly said. "That goes back to the guys up front pushing the pocket, getting in his face, causing some problems in the middle from him."
Kuechly was modest about his huge afternoon, but this was an achievement that shouldn't be played down. The Panthers have arguably the best defense in football. Kuechly is at the heart of it.