Lamar Jackson is near-unanimous choice for his second AP NFL Most Valuable Player award

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Accepting the AP NFL Most Valuable Player award in person was bittersweet for Lamar Jackson.

Jackson was a near-unanimous choice for his second MVP award announced at NFL Honors on Thursday night but the quarterback’s Baltimore Ravens fell one win short of playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“I’d rather send in a video to win the award,” Jackson said. “To be here for the award, it’s an honor but I’d rather be in the Super Bowl accepting this award.”

The All-Pro QB received 49 of 50 first-place votes from a nationwide panel of voters that includes media members who regularly cover the NFL, former players and coaches.

Jackson led the Ravens (14-5) to the NFL’s best record in the regular season, but they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game. The 27-year-old Jackson is the fourth player to win his second MVP before turning 28, joining Patrick Mahomes (27), Brett Favre (27) and Jim Brown (22).

“It’s an honor. I guess I’m in elite company,” Jackson said.

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey ran away with the AP Offensive Player of the Year award. He’ll try to add a Super Bowl ring to his trophy case when the 49ers take on the Chiefs on Sunday.

Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett beat out T.J. Watt for AP Defensive Player of the Year. Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award in a landslide. Defensive end Will Anderson Jr., Stroud’s Houston teammate, won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award, outgaining both Jalen Carter and Kobie Turner by two first-place votes.

The Browns took home four awards.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who came off the couch to lead Cleveland to the playoffs, was named AP Comeback Player of the Year. Kevin Stefanski edged Houston’s DeMeco Ryans for AP Coach of the Year honors by one first-place vote. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz won the AP Assistant Coach of the Year award after guiding the league’s No. 1 ranked unit.

“It was a special year for a special team,” Garrett said about the Browns. “I think next year is going to be our year.”

Despite his disappointment over losing the AFC title game, it was also a special year for Jackson.

The one first-place MVP vote he didn’t receive went to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Jackson threw for 3,678 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 821 yards and five scores while leading Baltimore to a record 10 wins over teams that finished with a winning record. He helped the Ravens rout Houston in the divisional round but struggled in a 17-10 loss to the Chiefs in the AFC title game.

McCaffrey, San Francisco’s All-Pro running back, received 39 of 50 first-place votes for OPOY, outpacing Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill. A unanimous choice for All-Pro, McCaffrey led the NFL with 1,459 yards rushing and had 14 rushing TDs. He also had 564 yards receiving for seven scores.

“I feel so fortunate to be part of the best organization on the planet so thank you for believing in me,” McCaffrey said.

Garrett was equally as dominant on the other side of the ball. He received 23 first-place votes and 165 points to beat out Watt for DPOY. Despite constant double-teams, Garrett had 14 sacks, 30 quarterback hits, 17 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and forced offensive coordinators to avoid his side of the field.

Stroud received 48 of 50 first-place votes for OROY with Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua getting the other two. The No. 2 overall pick, Stroud threw for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, five interceptions and had a passer rating of 100.8, third-best by a rookie. He helped the Texans go from worst to first place in the AFC South and led them to a playoff win in the wild-card round.

“I’m the type of person who wonders what’s next and what I can do better but reflecting on the season, being my first, it’s special just to be in the NFL let alone on a winning team,” Stroud said.

Anderson and Stroud are the fourth teammates to win the offensive and defensive rookie awards in the same season. Garrett Wilson and Sauce Gardner swept the awards last year for the New York Jets.

“It means the absolute world,” Anderson said about him and Stroud winning. “Just watching how he comes to work every day, the preparation he put in and rebuilding the culture and being captains our rookie year, it’s special.”

Flacco beat out Bills safety Damar Hamlin and Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield for the comeback award. He received 13 first-place votes, 26 second-place votes and eight thirds to finish with 151 points.

Hamlin returned to the NFL this season after collapsing on the field and needing to be resuscitated following a cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2023. He played in five regular-season games. Hamlin received 21 first-place votes but appeared on 42 of 50 ballots while Flacco was on 47. He got seven second-place votes and 14 thirds for 140 points.

Flacco, the 39-year-old former Super Bowl MVP, was home in New Jersey with his family when Cleveland called him in November. He went 4-1 in five starts and passed for over 300 yards in four straight games with 13 touchdowns.

Stefanski led the Browns to their third playoff appearance since 1999 despite losing quarterback Deshaun Watson, star running back Nick Chubb and right tackle Jack Conklin to season-ending injuries and starting five QBs.

Cleveland’s Schwartz received 25 first-place votes and finished with 160 points, easily outpacing Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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