Kuechly had 156 tackles, which was good for fourth in the NFL. He also had two sacks, seven passes defended and four interceptions for the season. One of his most notable performances was in Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints where he had 24 tackles and an interception. The Panthers would eventually win the low scoring battle as New Orleans was held to 13 points.
Bowman had 145 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defended. From the national NFL audience, he is remembered for having an 89-yard interception returned for a touchdown against Atlanta Falcons in Week 16 on Monday Night Football. In his fourth season, the 49ers linebacker was all over the field from stopping the run to dropping back in coveraeg.
Indianapolis Colts LB Robert Mathis was another candidate who had a strong case to win the award. Mathis led the league with 19.5 sacks in 2013.
Here are how the votes were tallied, according to Tim Booth.
NFL Defensive Player of the Year Votes:
1. Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly: 19 votes
2. Indianapolis Colts LB Robert Mathis: 11.5 votes
3. Seattle Seahawks S Earl Thomas: 7.5 votes
4. St. Louis Rams DE Robert Quinn: 6 votes
5. Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman: 4 votes
6. Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt: 2 votes