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Alex Highsmith Snubbed, Loses Out To Melvin Ingram For AFC Defensive Player Of The Month Honors

Last year, Alex Highsmith and Melvin Ingram battled for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ROLB spot, one Highsmith won. This year, they battled for Defensive Player of the Month honors, a nod that went to Melvin Ingram.

Despite Highsmith leading the NFL in sacks through the first month of the season, Ingram – now with the Miami Dolphins – took home the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month award. The September award winners were announced today with expected names like Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts being honored. So was Ingram, who finished up the month with seven tackles, three for a loss, with three sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown. Strong numbers across the board, no doubt, but Highsmith seems to have him beat. Here’s how they stack up.

Alex Highsmith Melvin Ingram
20 Tackles 7 Tackles
4.5 Sacks 3 Sacks
7 QB Hits 3 QB Hits
1 FF 1 FF

Ingram does have two fumble recoveries and the defensive score, but across the board, Highsmith has stronger overall numbers. While a September award is ultimately meaningless, it’s sure interesting to see these two players basically battle for the top spot after Ingram played behind Highsmith last year, became frustrated with his role, and eventually forced his way out of Pittsburgh. He signed with the Dolphins this offseason and has technically only started one game while played 58% of the snaps, working in a rotation.

Highsmith got off to a red-hot start this season, picking up three sacks in the opening win against the Cincinnati Bengals. After a quiet Week 2, though he had a pressure/QB hit that led to Minkah Fitzpatrick’s INT, Highsmith was again productive in a Week 3 loss to the Browns, recording 1.5 sacks and multiple tackles for loss.

Ingram has certainly had a good start to his season and has often played better than his stats may indicate. That was certainly the case during his time in Pittsburgh last season. But perhaps being part of the 3-0 Miami Dolphins, one of football’s biggest surprises to start the year, helped nudge votes in his favor to win the award. Highsmith will have to try for the award in October and the Steelers will need him to remain a threat off the edge until T.J. Watt returns, which likely won’t happen until the end of the month.

No Steeler took home an award this month, with Lamar Jackson honored for the AFC offense, Ingram for the defense, and Chiefs’ punter Tommy Townsend named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Month.

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