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Postseason Awards: Brady wins third MVP; Rams clean up

By The Sports Xchange
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls out a play at the line of scrimmage in their 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 21. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c56d11b682aa506cc019105753cb471a/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls out a play at the line of scrimmage in their 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Jan. 21. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named the NFL Most Valuable Player for for the third time in his illustrious career Saturday night.

The Los Angeles Rams collected three other major postseason NFL awards from the Associated Press.

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Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was named the Defensive Player of the Year, running back Todd Gurley II won the Offensive Player of the Year award and Sean McVay was selected as AP Coach of the Year.

The New Orleans Saints claimed both Rookie of the Year awards, with running back Alvin Kamara taking home the offensive honor and cornerback Marshon Lattimore the defensive prize.

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Other winners included Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen as NFL Comeback Player of the Year, Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who is now the head coach for the New York Giants, as Assistant Coach of the Year.

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Brady, who led the Patriots into the Super Bowl this year, was also the MVP after the 2007 and 2010 seasons. At age 40, Brady is the oldest player to receive the award and the fourth to win it three or more times (Peyton Manning, five; Brett Favre and Johnny Unitas, three apiece).

During the 2017 season, Brady passed for an NFL-best 4,577 passing yards and also had 32 touchdown passes. He's also the oldest player in history to lead the league in passing yards.

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With Brady at quarterback, the Patriots have won the AFC East title a record 15 times. His Super Bowl start on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles will be his eighth. He is 5-2.

McVay led the Rams to an NFC West title with an 11-1 record and to the playoffs in his first season as coach after taking over a team that finished 4-12 the previous year. Offensively, the Rams ranked No. 1 in scoring offense after having the lowest-ranked scoring offense the previous year.

The 31-year-old is the first Rams coach to win the league award since Dick Vermeil in 1999.

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Donald is the first Rams player to be chosen as AP Defensive Player fo the Year after he totaled 52 tackles, a team-high 11 sacks, a team-best five forced fumbles, 27 quarterbck hits, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed in 14 games this past season. He also was named first-team All-Pro for the third straight year and to the Pro Bowl for the fourth year in a row.

He received 23 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members for an award normally won by outside linebackers and defensive backs. Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell took second with 17 votes.

"Words can't express what I'm feeling right now," Donald said. "Trying to hold back the tears."

Gurley led the NFL in touchdowns (19), points scored among non-kickers (114) and scrimmage yards (2,093) in addition to finishing second in rushing yards (1,305). He also led the league's running backs in receiving yards with 788 and his average of 6.1 yards per touch was the best in the NFL.

The last Rams player to win the AP Offensive Player of the Year award was Marshall Faulk in 2001.

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Gurley received 37 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members. Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown was next with eight votes, followed by Brady with four and Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins with one.

Kamara edged out fellow third-round draft pick Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs for the rookie award on offense, getting 28 votes to 21 for Hunt.

The other vote for the offensive player of the year went to Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose season was cut short by a knee injury.

With Kamara and Mark Ingram splitting the carries, the Saints rolled to an 11-5 record during the regular season with Kamara rushing for 728 yards, eight touchdowns and a 6.1-yards-per-carry average while also catching 81 passes for 826 yards and five touchdowns.

Lattimore intercepted five passes and had 18 passes defensed in 13 games.

The Ohio State product received 45 votes to outdistance runner-up Tra'Davious White of the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco linebacker Reuben Foster by a wide margin.

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The last time a team swept both rookie awards was in 1967 when Mel Farr and Lem Barney were selected from the Detroit Lions.

Allen came back from a kidney issue in 2015 and a torn ACL in 2016 to caught 102 passes for 1,393 yards and six touchdowns for the Chargers.

Watt was honored for his efforts to raise funds that reached $37 million in donations for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

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