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4 Lions named finalists for AP awards

With winning comes recognition, and more of that has arrived for the Detroit Lions with the announcement Thursday of the finalists for the Associated Press NFL Awards.

The Detroit Lions have four finalists in three different categories, as follows:

  • Dan Campbell – AP Coach of the Year
  • Ben Johnson – AP Assistant Coach of the Year
  • Jahmyr Gibbs & Sam LaPorta – AP Offensive Rookie of the Year

There are five finalists in every category and winners will be announced at NFL Honors at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 at Resorts World Theatre in Las Vegas.

Under the direction of Campbell, the Lions clinched their first division championship since 1993 this season. They won 12 games in the regular season, tied for the most wins ever in a season. The Lions' 21 wins over the last two seasons establish a new franchise record in any two-season span.

Detroit was 6-3 on the road this season and didn't lose back-to-back games all year. Campbell has guided the Lions to two playoffs wins the last two weeks, the first time Detroit has hosted multiple playoff games in the same season and won multiple playoff games. He's only the third coach in team history to win multiple playoff games.

Johnson controls the reigns of one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Detroit threw for at least 4,000 yards and rushed for 2,000 yards for a second consecutive season after Johnson was named offensive coordinator before the 2022 season. Those are the only two times the franchise has ever reached those numbers in the same season.

Detroit's offense ranked second in net passing yards, third in total net yards, third in most yards per play, third in red zone efficiency and fifth in rushing. It's no wonder Johnson is a hot candidate in this year's head coaching hiring cycle.

Both Gibbs and LaPorta scored a touchdown in their playoff debuts in the Wild Card win vs. the Rams. They followed it up with Gibbs totaling 114 scrimmage yards and a touchdown and LaPorta catching nine passes for 65 yards in the Divisional win over Tampa Bay.

Gibbs (11) and LaPorta (10) are the NFL's first set of rookie teammates to each produce 10 touchdowns in a season. The Lions are the first team since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger to produce a combined 10 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns from a rookie class.

Gibbs averaged 5.2 yards per run this season with 1,261 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns. LaPorta caught 86 passes for 889 yards and 10 scores. He was fourth in receptions, fifth in yards and first in touchdowns among the league's tight ends this season.

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