INDIANAPOLIS — Linebacker Von Miller earned the Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award and the Broncos were honored with the 2011 GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year for their come-from-behind victory over Chicago in Week 14, the league announced on Saturday. The awards were given at the inaugural NFL Honors awards show in Indianapolis.
“I was extremely surprised,” Miller said of winning defensive rookie of the year. “(49ers LB) Aldon Smith had a great season. All the defensive rookie candidates had great seasons — (Bills DL) Marcel Dareus, (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson — I was just honored to be nominated. To get the award is extremely humbling.”
Miller tied a franchise record by totaling 11.5 sacks during his rookie campaign. That figure ranked second among rookies and tied for ninth overall in the league. In 15 regular-season games (15 starts), he totaled 64 tackles (50 solo), 19 tackles for a loss, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Additionally, he was one of just six NFL players this season to record at least a half sack in 10 or more games.
“It feels great,” said Miller, who credited Linebackers Coach Richard Smith with pushing him to such success throughout the season. “Hats off to my organization and teammates.”
Along with his Defensive Rookie of the Year honor, Miller was named a second-team All-Pro selection by the AP in addition to representing the AFC as a starter for the 2012 Pro Bowl. He is the second player in Broncos history (LB Mike Croel, 1991) to be named as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Quarterback Tim Tebow’s Week 14 fourth-quarter and overtime performance was selected as the 2011 GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year via fan vote on NFL.com. The award is given to the best moment or play of the year that represents determination and perseverance.
In the comeback victory, Tebow rallied the Broncos from a 10-0 deficit with just over two minutes remaining by leading scoring drives of 63 and 39 yards to force overtime. Kicker Matt Prater followed up his 59-yard field goal at the end of regulation with a 51-yard game winner in the extra session to complete Denver’s improbable comeback.
Each week the NFL selected three nominees for the GMC Never Say Never moment of the week in which the fans voted for the winner on www.NFL.com. Over the course of the season, Tebow won the weekly award five times to lead all NFL players.