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Peterson double winner of AP NFL awards

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Peterson double winner of AP NFL awards

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Adrian Peterson called it a blessing in disguise.

Strange way to describe career-threatening major knee surgery.

The Minnesota Vikings' star came back better than ever, just missing Eric Dickerson's longstanding rushing record and closing out the season with two of the top NFL awards from The Associated Press: Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year.

As sort of an added bonus, he beat Peyton Manning for both of them Saturday night.

``My career could have easily been over, just like that,'' the sensational running back said. ``Oh man. The things I've been through throughout my lifetime has made me mentally tough.

`` I'm kind of speechless. This is amazing, '' he said in accepting his awards, along with five others at the ``2nd Annual NFL Honors'' show on CBS saluting the NFL's best players, performances and plays from the 2012 season. The awards are based on balloting from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL.

Manning's own sensational recovery, from four neck surgeries, earned him Comeback Player honors.

``This injury was unlike any other,'' said the only four-time league MVP. ``There really was no bar or standard, there were no notes to copy. We were coming up with a rehab plan as we went.''

Before sitting out 2011, Manning had never missed a start in his first 13 seasons with Indianapolis. But he was released by the Colts last winter because of his neck issues, signed with Denver and guided the Broncos to the AFC's best record, 13-3.

``Certainly you have double variables of coming off injury, not playing for over year and joining a new team. That certainly added a lot to my plate, so it was hard to really know what to expect,'' Manning said. ``I can't tell you how grateful and thankful I am. I can't tell you how happy I am to be playing the game of football we all love so much.''

Also honored were:

-Washington's Robert Griffin III, who beat out a strong crop of quarterbacks for the top offensive rookie award.

- Houston end J.J. Watt, who took Defensive Player of the Year, getting 49 of 50 votes.

- Bruce Arians, the first interim coach to win Coach of the Year after leading Indianapolis to a 9-3 record while head man Chuck Pagano was being treated for leukemia. Arians became Arizona's head coach last month.

-Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, the league's leader in tackles with 164, who won the top defensive rookie award.

Peterson returned better than ever from the left knee surgery, rushing for 2,097 yards, 9 short of breaking Dickerson's record. He also sparked the Vikings' turnaround from 3-13 to 10-6 and a wild-card playoff berth.

He received 30 1-2 votes to 19 1-2 for Manning.

``I played my heart out, every opportunity I had,'' Peterson said. ``The result of that is not what I wanted, which is being in the Super Bowl game. But I have a couple of good pieces of hardware to bring back and (put) in my statue area. So it feels good.''

Was the knee injury the toughest thing he'd ever overcome?

``Losing my brother at 7, seeing him get hit by a car right in front of me, that was the toughest,'' he said. ``But as far as injuries, yes.''

New England QB Tom Brady was the last winner of MVP and Offensive Player in 2010.

``Trying to get two or three like Peyton, trying to get to your level,'' Peterson said of his first MVP award. ``But I won't be there to accept it because I'll be winning with my coach, the most important award, the team award, the Super Bowl.''

Dickerson predicted Peterson could get back to 2,000 yards.

``I hope he does have a chance to do it again,'' Dickerson said, adding with a laugh, ``but do I want him to break it? No, I do not.''

Wearing a burgundy and gold tie in honor of his Redskins, Griffin said his goal is to be ready for the season opener.

``It's truly a blessing to be up there - to be able to stand, first and foremost,'' said Griffin, who underwent knee surgery last month. He added that next season ``you'll see a better Robert Griffin.''

Arians moved up from offensive coordinator and helped Indianapolis make the playoffs at 10-6, making him an easy winner in the balloting.

``It's hard to put into words the feelings of this past year,'' he said. ``This was kind of the cherry on the top, whipped cream and everything else you put on top.''

Watt swatted the competition as Denver's Von Miller got the only other vote in the most lopsided balloting of all the awards.

``It sets the bar for me,'' Watt said. He led the NFL with 20 1-2 sacks and also blocked an astounding 16 passes. ``I want to go out and do even better. I want to do even bigger things.''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' blowout loss to Hornets, including Bradley Beal's buzzer-beater

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 122-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night...

1. This was a tough one for the Wizards. For the third time this season, they got beaten by the Hornets and for the second straight time it was in a blowout.

They still had their moments, though, including this alley-oop from Tomas Satoransky (11 points) to Markieff Morris (13 points, eight assists, six rebounds). It was the second alley-oop connection for those two in as many games:

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

2. This was a play that encapsulated the Wizards' night. Jodie Meeks drew a flagrant foul on Michael Carter-Williams, but took a hard shot to the head:

3. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had a solid game with 11 points, including this big dunk:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

4. Speaking of Oubre, he helped the Wizards close the first half with a late surge. The real highlight was Bradley Beal stealing the ball and hitting a corner three at the buzzer:

5. Beal ended up with 33 points, six assists and six rebounds. Here's an and-1 he got to go down in the second half:

All in all, it was an ugly performance for the Wizards. To cheer you up, we'll leave you with this young fan who had a great time at Capital One Arena despite the result:

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

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Wizards suffer lopsided loss against Hornets, who have had their number this season

The Washington Wizards lost to the Charlotte Hornets 122-105 on Friday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Bad matchup: Despite their poor record, there is something about this Charlotte Hornets team that gives the Wizards trouble. The Wizards lost to the Hornets for the third time in three tries this season on Friday night and, aside from a push in the third quarter, were never really in it.

All in all, it was a dud of a game for the Wizards who were probably due for one. They had won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall got injured. They were also coming off a huge road win the night before in Cleveland, a game that started an hour later than usual.

It was a tough turnaround and the Wizards sure looked like it. It was evident in their defense and unforced errors. They did, however, have a decent shooting night. They shot 49.4 percent from the field 16-for-17 from the free throw line.

The Wizards' second unit didn't provide a lift outside of Kelly Oubre, Jr. (11 points). Mike Scott, one of their best bench options, was held scoreless.

PODCAST: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR SATORANSKY

Ugly first half: The Wizards only trailed by 12 points at halftime, but that score was skewed by a five-point push in the final seconds. The Hornets dominated for much of the first two quarters and did so by hitting threes and forcing turnovers. Those mistakes dug the Wizards a hole they never recovered from.

The Wizards had 10 turnovers in the first half, the same amount they had in their entire game the night before. Limiting mistakes was a big reason they beat the Cavaliers, yet the script was flipped by Charlotte.

The Hornets capitalized with 23 points off those 10 first-half turnovers. The Wizards had 14 giveaways for the games that led to 28 total points. 

Charlotte was 7-for-11 from three at one point in the first half and finished 17-for-39 (43.6%) for the game. That is very uncharacteristic for the Wizards, who entered the night second in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage.

Again, though, the first half ended well as Oubre and Bradley Beal gave the Wizards a jolt in the final seconds:

RELATED: 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT RAMON SESSIONS

Bad defense: The Wizards have played some great defense in recent weeks, but they just didn't have it on Friday night. Most surprising were the guys that hurt them most.

Dwight Howard was limited to 11 points and six rebounds and Kemba Walker didn't score his first points until the final minute of the first half. But others like Frank Kaminsky (23 points), Marvin Williams (15 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14 points) got pretty much anything they wanted.

For Walker, it was a tale of two halves. He was held in check by Tomas Satoransky in the first half, but broke out in the third quarter and finished with 24 points and seven rebounds. Maybe it was tired legs on the Wizards' part, but Walker just kept dribbling until he got space and once he did, he knocked down shots.

Much like Kyle Lowry did a few weeks ago, Walker made adjustments to find success against Satoransky. We haven't seen that happen much since Wall went out, but those two guys have given him some trouble. Both guys are considerably smaller than Satoransky and very quick. Maybe there's something to that.

Add it all up and this was one of the worst defensive games of the season for the Wizards. They allowed their most points in a game since Jan. 17 against, you guessed it, the Hornets. Only three times this year have they given up more than what they allowed on Friday.

No Sessions: The Wizards did not debut their newest player on Friday night, which was probably to be expected given Ramon Sessions has not had any practice time yet. That is part of why he didn't play, but it's also another indication that he is unlikely to play much with the Wizards. Sessions is on a 10-day contract and is not expected to supplant either Satoransky or Tim Frazier at point guard. Frazier would seem to be the guy in danger of losing minutes, but it was business as usual for him against the Hornets.

Up next: The Wizards are off Saturday before returning to action at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.

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