NEW ORLEANS — Houston end J.J. Watt has won The Associated Press 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, missing a perfect ballot by one vote.
The NFL’s sacks leader with 20 1-2 and a pass-blocking fiend, Watt earned 49 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. Denver linebacker Von Miller received the other vote.
Watt, a versatile second-year player with a tremendous burst off the line, also forced four fumbles and recovered two in helping the Texans to their second straight AFC South title. With his long wingspan, he blocked a stunning 16 passes.
Watt is the first Texans player to win the award. Last year, Miller ran away with the top defensive rookie award while Watt was not in contention.
He accepted his award Saturday night at the “2nd Annual NFL Honors” awards show on CBS saluting the NFL’s best players, performances and plays from the 2012 season.