The recognition of Bobby Wagner's obvious impact on the Seahawks' No. 1-ranked defense just keeps getting better and better.
The third-year middle linebacker was voted to his first Pro Bowl last week. Wednesday, Wagner was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for December. And Friday, he was named to the All-Pro team, along with teammates and repeat selections free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman. Running back Marshawn Lynch and strong safety Kam Chancellor were voted to the second team.
Not bad for a guy who missed five games at midseason with a torn ligament in his foot.
But Wagner's return only underlined his importance to all the good things the defense did this season in leading the Seahawks to another NFC West title and No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs. The Seahawks accomplished all that by winning their final six regular-season games, which just happened to coincide with Wagner's return to the lineup.
Wagner had a team-leading 54 tackles down the stretch, when the Seahawks allowed an average of 6.5 points in sweeping the division rival Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers, helping knock the Philadelphia Eagles out of the playoff race and defeating the St. Louis Rams in their regular-season finale last Sunday.
"I wanted to come back and I wanted to make an impact," Wagner said this week. "I want my presence to be felt."
It was, as Wagner garnered 31 votes from the 50 media members who cast them. The Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly, last season's NFL Defensive Player of the Year, got 43 votes to join Wagner as the inside linebackers.
Thomas was voted All-Pro for the third consecutive season, and led all safeties with 39 votes. The San Diego Chargers' Eric Weddle joined Thomas on the first team with 16 votes – two more than Chancellor, who also was a second-team selection last season.
Sherman also was voted All-Pro for the third season in a row. He had 41 votes, one behind the New England Patriots' Darrelle Revis and nine shy of being a unanimous selection. Sherman and Revis dominated the field as the next-highest vote total among the corners was nine by the Denver Broncos' Chris Harris Jr.
Lynch got seven votes to finish third behind NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys (48) and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Le'Veon Bell. Lynch had been voted to the first team in 2012.
Also receiving votes for the Seahawks were defensive end Michael Bennett, who had three; and guard James Carpenter, who had one.
The Houston Texans' J.J. Watt got 45 votes as a defensive end and five as a defensive tackle, making him one of only two unanimous selections along with Patriots' tight end Rob Gronkowski.
The Seahawks' three first-team selections tied them with the Steelers for the most in the league.
The three-peat selections for Sherman and Thomas put them among the leaders in franchise history. Ring of Honor strong safety Kenny Easley also was a three-time All-Pro (1983-85). Only the Pro Football Hall of Fame trio of left tackle Walter (six), wide receiver Steve Largent (five) and defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy (four) had more All-Pro selections.
Free safety Earl Thomas