HOUSTON — Matt Ryan and the Dallas Cowboys were big winners Saturday night.
The Atlanta Falcons quarterback was voted The Associated Press 2016 NFL's Most Valuable Player and top offensive player. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott took Offensive Rookie of the Year and Jason Garrett was selected Coach of the Year by a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league.
On the eve of the Super Bowl in which he will face off with two-time league MVP Tom Brady, who finished second in this year's balloting, Ryan easily outdistanced Brady 25-10 for MVP. He beat Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers 15½ to 11 for Offensive Player of the Year.
Garrett drew 25 votes for best coach, beating out New England's Bill Belichick (14). Prescott, in a two-man race with his running back, Ezekiel Elliott, won 28½ to 21½.
Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, apparently headed to San Francisco after the Super Bowl to be head coach of the 49ers, took the assistant coaching award.
Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, returning from a devastating knee injury, was selected Comeback Player of the Year.
Oakland edge rusher Khalil Mack slipped past 2016 Super Bowl MVP linebacker Von Miller for Defensive Player of the Year, 18-17.
San Diego lineman Joey Bosa won top defensive rookie honors in a landslide.
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Giants quarterback Eli Manning shared the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.