HOUSTON (AP) — Quarterback Matt Ryan has become the first Atlanta Falcons player to win The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player award.
Ryan, also voted NFL Offensive Player of the Year and to the 2016 All-Pro Team by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL, earned 25 votes in balloting announced Saturday night at the NFL Honors show. He beat out New England quarterback Tom Brady, who received 10 votes.
They will meet in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Ryan topped the NFL in passer rating (117.1), throwing for 38 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He led the Falcons (11-5) to the NFC South title.
It’s the fourth consecutive year and ninth in the past 10 a quarterback has won the award.
Oakland’s All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack won Defensive Player of the Year, edging last season’s Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller, by one vote.
Mack drew 18 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Denver linebacker Miller was next at 17 in balloting announced Saturday night.
Mack was, by far, the standout player on a Raiders defense that ranked only 26th overall. He had 11 sacks, took part in 73 tackles, forced five fumbles and recovered three, and even had an interception for a touchdown. He’s the second Oakland defender to win the award; cornerback Lester Hayes got it in 1980.
The Cowboys’ Jason Garrett won Coach of the Year award. He led Dallas to an NFC-best 13-3 record in a turnaround season before the Cowboys lost to Green Bay in the playoffs.
In his seventh season at the Cowboys’ helm, Garrett used two rookies — quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott — operating behind a terrific offensive line, to lift Dallas to its best record in nine years. The Cowboys also had the third-stingiest scoring defense in the NFC.
Garrett received 25 votes. He easily outdistanced New England’s Bill Belichick (14 votes). Miami’s Adam Gase got six, Oakland’s Jack Del Rio four, and Kansas City’s Andy Reid one.
Garrett is the first Dallas coach to win the award since Jimmy Johnson in 1990. Tom Landry won it in 1966.
Prescott won a two-man race with Dallas teammate Elliott to take the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
The Cowboys’ fourth-round draft pick stepped in when quarterback Tony Romo was injured in the preseason and led Dallas to a 13-3 record, best in the NFC. He got plenty of help from his running back, Elliott, the fourth overall selection.
Prescott received 28½ votes to Elliott’s 21½.
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa won Defensive Player of the Year award in a landslide. Sitting out the first four games after a protracted preseason holdout didn’t damage the third overall draft pick much. He still managed 12½ sacks as the key threat on a San Diego defense that ranked only 16th overall.
Green Bay’s Jordy Nelson was an overwhelming choice as Comeback Player of the Year. The Packers receiver severely tore ligaments in his right knee in the 2015 preseason and missed the entire season. He returned to full-time action last summer, caught six passes and scored a touchdown in the opener and never looked back.
Nelson finished the season with 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and a league-high 14 touchdowns in helping Green Bay win the NFC North. That performance earned him 36 votes. Miami defensive end Cameron Wake received 11 votes.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Giants quarterback Eli Manning shared the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has won Assistant Coach of the Year award.
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