The Latest: Andrew Luck overwhelmingly wins Comeback Player
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the AP NFL individual awards Saturday (all times local):
Andrew Luck is The Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year in a landslide win over J.J. Watt.
The Indianapolis quarterback who missed the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, got 44 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. That far outpaced the four votes for Houston’s All-Pro edge rusher Watt. Redskins running back Adrian Peterson received two votes in balloting announced at NFL Honors.
Luck’s sensational return, in which he led the Colts to a 10-6 record, wild-card playoff berth and a victory at Houston, erased any doubts that the 2012 top overall draft choice could be a force in the NFL again. He was second in the league with 39 touchdown passes, throwing for 4,593 yards. He established career highs in completions, attempts and percentage and was sacked a league-low 18 times.
He’s the first Indianapolis player to win the award.
In his first season as Chicago Bears coach, Matt Nagy has won the league’s top honor for his profession.
Nagy is The Associated Press 2018 NFL Coach of the Year. For taking the perennial also-ran Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North championship, Nagy earned 24 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. That was well ahead of the Chargers’ Anthony Lynn, who got 10 votes in balloting announced at NFL Honors.
Nagy has overseen the development of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who blossomed in his second pro season, and saw a defense befitting the “Monsters of the Midway” dominate opponents at times. He is the fifth Bears coach to win the award, joining team founder George Halas (1963, 1965), Mike Ditka (1985, 1988), Dick Jauron (2001) and Lovie Smith (2005).
In a year when many coaches did exceptional work, four others also received votes. The Colts’ Frank Reich got eight, followed by the Chiefs Andy Reid (5), the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll (2) and the Saints’ Sean Payton (1).
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ breakout season earned him The Associated Press 2018 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.
Mahomes, who had started one game for the Chiefs before this season, threw for 50 touchdowns and 5,097 yards in leading the Chiefs to their first AFC championship game since the 1993 season. He received 30 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league.
Mahomes also was an overwhelming choice as All-Pro quarterback in early January.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who led the NFL with a 115.7 rating, was second with 16 votes in balloting announced at NFL Honors. Houston All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins got two votes, as did Rams All-Pro running back Todd Gurley.
Only one other Chief, running back Priest Holmes in 2002, has won the top offensive player award.
Saquon Barkley, described by some as a “generational running back,” is The Associated Press 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The second overall draft pick who rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns behind a weak New York Giants offensive line drew 26 1-2 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. He edged top overall selection Baker Mayfield; the Cleveland quarterback earned 21 1-2 votes.
In a rarity, a guard, Indianapolis’ Quenton Nelson, got two votes in balloting announced at NFL Honors.
Barkley also made a team-high 91 receptions for 721 yards, and his 2,028 yards from scrimmage led the NFL.
“This kid is a special player, a special talent,” said Eagles coach Doug Pederson. “He’s such a big, powerful guy thate has breakaway speed. Sometimes, it’s impossible, but you kind of have to get two or three bodies on him. He’s a tremendous running back, and a load to bring down.”
Barkley is the second Giants player in five seasons to win the award; wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., took it in 2014. They are the only Giants to win it.
For his work as defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears, Vic Fangio got the head coaching gig in Denver.
He also won The Associated Press 2018 NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award on Saturday.
Fangio guided the latest version of the “Monsters of the Midway” to a third-place ranking on defense and first against the run. He helped edge rusher Khalil Mack, cornerback Kyle Fuller and safety Eddie Jackson become All-Pros. Chicago allowed a league-low 283 points.
Soon after the Bears were eliminated in the wild-card round by the Eagles, Fangio was hired by the Broncos.
Fangio received 25 votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. That was far ahead of Baltimore defensive coordinator Don Martindale, who got nine in balloting announced at NFL Honors.
Indianapolis DC Matt Eberflus was next with seven votes, while Seattle offensive line coach Mike Solari and Cleveland offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, now the team’s head coach, each got two. Receiving one vote were Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer, Browns DC Gregg Williams, Colts O-line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, Cowboys DC Kris Richard and Saints DC Dennis Allen.
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