By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
As we continue to hand out our 2018 NFL Awards, the Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award goes to Los Angeles Rams Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald. This was a close race.
Donald beat out Chicago Bears defensive end Khalil Mack for this award. After being acquired in a blockbuster deal in September, Mack wrecked havoc on NFC defenses.
Mack had 47 tackles, including 10 tackles for a loss and 18 quarterback hits. He also had 12.5 sacks, one interception, including a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown; six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and four pass deflections.
But it was Donald, who had the better season. The five-year pro made 16 starts with the Rams this season.
He had 59 tackles, including a career-best 25 tackles for a loss and 41 quarterback hits. He also had a career-best 20.5 sacks, including four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one pass deflection.
The 20.5 sacks were among the most-ever in an NFL season since 1982, according to Pro Football Reference. The 20.5 sacks is the fourth-most in a season.
Michael Strahan had the most during a season in 2001 with 22.5 sacks. That broke Mark Gastineau’s record in 1984 with the New York Jets when he had 22.0 sacks.
Donald is tied with the 1986 season of New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who also had 20.5 sacks. Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt also had 20.5 sacks, both in 2012 and 2014.
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