INDIANAPOLIS — Von Miller lost steam near the end of the year, but he still managed to hang on to win the AP defensive rookie of the year award at the NFL’s first-ever live awards ceremony here in Indianapolis.

After a red-hot start to 2011, Miller recorded only one sack after November, primarily because of a hand injury that restricted his ability to gain leverage on opposing tackles.

It’s not a surprising announcement when you consider how much attention Miller got while Denver made its wild run in October and November. He had a lot more name recognition than Aldon Smith did.

But Smith was better, period. He didn’t come on until late in the year, but he finished with 2.5 more sacks than Miller did and played a much more significant role in important late-season games. He made more of a difference than Miller did, against the pass and the run.

Smith was robbed.