Titans’ Henry top offensive player; Donald DPOY

  • Covered Packers for Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1997-2013
  • Two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry and Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald were named the NFL’s offensive and defensive players of the year at Saturday’s NFL Honors awards show.

Henry turned in the NFL’s fifth-highest single-season rushing total with 2,027 yards. He also rushed for 17 touchdowns, becoming the sixth player in NFL history to lead the league outright in rushing yards and touchdowns in back-to-back seasons.

Henry is just the third running back to win offensive player of the year since 2010 and the first since Ezekiel Elliott in 2017.

Donald won defensive player of the year for the third time in four years, also winning for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He joined Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt as the third player to win the award three times since it was first presented in 1971.

Donald led all players with 54 pressures this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He also led the league for the third straight season in in pass rush win rate as an interior defensive linemen (24.2%), despite being double-teamed on 65.7% of his pass rushes (third-highest rate in league).

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and Washington defensive end Chase Young were the NFL’s top rookies, winning offensive and defensive rookie of the year awards.

Herbert was the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft and threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns — a single-season rookie record — in 15 games.

“Thank you to the Chargers organization, the Spanos Family, Tom Telesco and [former] coach Anthony Lynn for taking a chance on a kid from Eugene, Oregon,” Herbert said in a recorded video message. “Without them, none of this is possible. While it’s an incredible honor just to be in the conversation for this award, I know it’s not possible without my teammates.”

Young was the second overall pick in the draft and posted 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, something only 2003 defensive rookie of the year Terrell Suggs (2003) has done as a rookie over the last 20 seasons.

“It definitely wasn’t the rookie season I expected just with the pandemic and everything going on,” Young said.

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