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Monday, January 31, 2011
Polamalu beats Matthews for top defensive player
By:BARRY WILNER01/31/11 5:14 PM AP Pro Football Writer
Now that the voters have chosen Troy Polamalu over Clay Matthews for The Associated Press 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, the two stars can prove their worth against each other on the field.
In the Super Bowl.
Pittsburgh safety Polamalu received 17 votes Monday from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who cover the league, edging Green Bay linebacker Matthews by a hair — two votes.
Despite missing two games, in which Pittsburgh went 1-1, Polamalu became the sixth Steeler to win the award. He had seven interceptions this season along with 63 tackles, but made his mark with big plays. In a late-season victory at Baltimore, his leaping tackle forced a fumble that set up the winning touchdown.
That victory catapulted the Steelers to the AFC North title. Now, they are in the Super Bowl for the third time in six seasons, where they face Matthews and the Packers.
"I don't imagine their game plan changing over one player," Polamalu said. "We don't single out anybody. Anything we achieve here is done as a team, as a whole."