For the third consecutive month, a Panther was named one of the NFC's players of the month, with the honor for December going to running back DeAngelo Williams. He joins linebacker Jon Beason and defensive end Julius Peppers, who received Defensive Player of the Month plaudits for October and November, respectively.
This is the first season in which the Panthers have earned three Player of the Month awards. They had three in the previous three seasons combined -- quarterback Matt Moore (Rookie of the Month, December 2007), Peppers (October 2006) and wide receiver Steve Smith (Offensive Player of the Month, October 2005). Williams is also the first Panther to earn Offensive Player of the Month recognition in December since wide receiver Patrick Jeffers in 1999.
Williams sprinted to the award by leading the league in rushing in December, averaging 140.0 yards per game 7.0 yards per carry and amassing seven touchdowns, including a four-score effort in Week 16 against the New York Giants. His scores capped a franchise-record streak of nine consecutive games with a touchdown.
He ended the season with a league-leading and Panthers-record 20 touchdowns -- 18 rushing and two receiving -- while finishing with a franchise-record 1,515 rushing yards. His per-carry average of 5.5 yards was best among all running backs with at least 200 carries, a full half-yard better than Brandon Jacobs of the New York Giants.
Only once in December did Williams fail to reach 100 yards -- in Week 15 against Denver. But he nonetheless capped the rout with a 56-yard touchdown run that saw him veer left, reverse his field away from the primary flow of the play and sprint up the middle untouched through a shellshocked defense for a touchdown that put the Panthers up three scores, where they would remain for a 30-10 win that clinched the Panthers' third 11-win season in six years.