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Saturday, February 4, 2012
Suggs beats out Allen for defensive award

By Jamison Hensley

INDIANAPOLIS -- Terrell Suggs was named the Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year, beating out the Minnesota Vikings' Jared Allen for the award.

Allen
Suggs
It was the closest margin of the top five major awards. Suggs beat out Allen by a margin of 21 votes to 14. All of the other winners received at least 39 votes: Aaron Rodgers (Most Valuable Player, 48 votes), Drew Brees (Offensive Player of the Year, 43 votes), Cam Newton (Offensive Rookie of the Year, 47 votes) and Von Miller (Defensive Rookie of the Year, 39 votes).

If I had a vote, it would've gone to Suggs. He finished the regular season tops in the NFL with seven forced fumbles and led the AFC with 14 sacks. Where he separated himself was being all over the field. Suggs was the only player this season to record at least five sacks, five passes defensed and five forced fumbles.

But the margin of seven votes suggests not everyone was sold on Suggs as the top defensive player. Allen finished with 22 sacks, one shy of setting an NFL record.

Here is the biggest argument against Suggs: He totaled most of his stats in three games. Suggs recorded nine sacks and six forced fumbles against Pittsburgh (the season opener), San Francisco and Indianapolis Colts. Two of those games were big wins, but it also meant that that he only five sacks and one forced fumble in the other 13 games.

Here is the rebuttal for Suggs: When linebacker Ray Lewis went down with a toe injury, the Ravens won all four games that he missed because of Suggs. He had seven sacks in those games and took over as the leader on that group.

"I want to thank my teammates especially my mentor, my brother Ray Lewis and Ed Reed," Suggs said after receiving the award on the "NFL Honors" show. "I want to thank my coaches for putting the pressure on me every week. And I got to thank the Ravens organization because not all the times I acted like a pro but they stood behind me."