By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — Geno Smith, who earned his first Pro Bowl berth after becoming a full-time starter for the first time since 2014, is the AP Comeback Player of the Year.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback received 28 first-place votes to beat out San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey.
The 32-year-old Smith threw for 4,282 yards, 30 TDs and led Seattle to an NFC wild-card berth.
Smith earned 171 points and McCaffrey had 110 with 12 first-place votes. New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley came in fourth. He got four first-place votes.
Others receiving first-place votes were: Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (2), Giants center Nick Gates (2), Lions quarterback Jared Goff (1) and Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (1).
COACH OF THE YEAR
Brian Daboll made a big impression in the Big Apple.
The New York Giants’ rookie coach won the AP Coach of the Year honors after leading the team to its first playoff appearance in six years.
Daboll received 16 first-place votes to outpace 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who got 12. Daboll totaled 123 points to Shanahan’s 100 in the closest race of all the 2022 AP NFL awards.
Jaguars coach Doug Pederson finished third with 75 points, including five first-place votes.
Bills coach Sean McDermott was fourth followed by Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni.
McDermott got seven first-place votes, Sirianni had six, Kansas City’s Andy Reid got two and Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell and Detroit’s Dan Campbell got one apiece.
The Giants started 6-1, finished 9-7-1 and won a playoff game under Daboll.
It’s all about that Sauce.
New York Jets cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner won the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year award Thursday, taking 46 first-place votes.
Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson finished second with 129 points, getting three first-place votes.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Tariq Woolen came in third with 73 points, including one first-place vote.
Gardner, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, started every game for the Jets. He had two interceptions and allowed just 33 catches on 73 targets. Gardner was a first-team All-Pro, becoming the first rookie cornerback to achieve the honor since Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott in 1981.
Gardner and Garrett Wilson are the third teammates to win the offensive and defensive rookie awards in the same season. Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore did it with the Saints in 2017 and Detroit’s Mel Farr and Lem Barney did it in 1967.
Garrett Wilson, the Jets’ wide receiver, edged out Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker for the AP Offensive Rookie of the year award, 156-129.
Wilson led all rookies with 83 catches and 1,103 yards receiving. Walker led all rookies with 1,050 yards rushing and nine TDs.
Wilson received 18 first-place votes, one fewer than Walker. However, he got 19 seconds to Walker’s eight. Wilson had nine third-place votes, also one fewer than Walker.
First-place votes are worth 5 points, second-place votes are worth 3 and third are worth 1.
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy finished third.
Nick Bosa made it a landslide for the AP Defensive Player of the Year award.
San Francisco’s All-Pro defensive end received 46 first-place votes after leading the NFL with 18 1/2 sacks in the regular season.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons finished second with 101 points, far behind Bosa’s 237. Parsons didn’t get a first-place vote but had 30 second-place votes and 11 for third.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones came in third with 56 points. Jones had one first-place vote.
Philadelphia Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick got two first-place votes but ended up in fourth place.
New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams earned the other first-place vote.
Bosa is due for a hefty pay raise this offseason. He’s set to play on his fifth-year option worth nearly $18 million for 2023 but it’s likely he’ll get an extension that could be worth more than $30 million a year.
Justin Jefferson ran away with the AP Offensive Player of the Year award.
Minnesota’s All-Pro wide receiver got 35 first-place votes and earned 192 points, outdistancing runner up Patrick Mahomes by a significant margin.
Mahomes received 10 first-place votes and finished with 75 points. Jalen Hurts came in third with 52 points, including three first-place votes. Miami Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill got one first-place vote, finishing fourth. Bills quarterback Josh Allen received the other first-place vote and ended up eighth.
Jefferson led the NFL with 128 catches and 1,809 yards receiving in his third season with the Vikings. He was one of two unanimous choices for AP All-Pro along with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
It’s the second straight year a wide receiver has won the award. Los Angeles Rams star Cooper Kupp won it last season.
DeMeco Ryans will take the AP Assistant Coach of the Year award with him to Houston.
The new Texans head coach received 35 first-place votes after guiding the league’s No. 1 ranked defense in San Francisco.
Ryans, who spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the 49ers, earned 206 points. He was named on 48 of 50 ballots.
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson finished second in voting with 113 points, including 11 first-place votes.
Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen came in third with 26 points.
Others receiving first-place votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league included: Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier; Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo; Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon; Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.
Ryans, a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker during his playing career with the Texans, has spent his entire coaching career with the 49ers. He was San Francisco’s inside linebackers coach from 2018-20 after spending the 2017 season as the defensive quality control coach.
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