LAS VEGAS – It was a strong return to the form Rams fans have become accustomed to seeing, but quarterback Matthew Stafford's 2023 performance unfortunately wasn't enough to sway voters for the Associated Press 2023 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. That ultimately went to Browns quarterback Joe Flacco, it was announced Thursday night at NFL Honors.
Bills safety Damar Hamlin actually had the most first-place votes (21) from the 50-member media panel voting on the award; however, Flacco's combination of 13 first-place votes and 26 second-place votes likely helped him gain enough separation to edge Hamlin 151-140 in total points. Hamlin received seven second-place votes and 14 third-place votes; Flacco had 26 second-place votes and eight third-place votes.
First-place votes are worth five points; second-place three and third-place one. Stafford received one first-place vote, six second-place votes and seven third-place votes for 30 total points and fourth place in voting; Baker Mayfield (10, 10, 13) finished ahead of him with 93 for third behind Hamlin and Flacco.
Stafford bounced back from an injury-shortened 2022 season completing 326 of 421 pass attempts for 3,965 yards and 24 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 15 games (missed one due to right thumb injury; rested in Week 18) during the 2023 regular season while leading the Rams back to the playoffs. His impact was felt the most upon his return from a thumb injury after the bye week, when he completed nearly 66% of his pass attempts for 1,895 yards and 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions to help the Rams go 6-1 across Weeks 11-17.