This post is sponsored by Sprint.
After watching Cincinnati's win, while spending the remainder of your Sunday afternoon watching football with your orange thunder-banging Cheetos fingers wondering if the joy of winning outweighs the concern of the passing offense, surely you wondered who, if anyone, should be given a game ball. It can be a player or a coach. Would you entertain giving the award to Kevin Huber, who radically dictated Carolina's field position? The defense should be recognized for redefining the word awesome. But which defensive player would you recognize? Did one player rise above the others, or was the defense truly a combined effort? What about Leon Hall, who spent most of Sunday covering Steve Smith, intercepting a pass and shutting down Smith until there was just over nine minutes left in the game? What about Cedric Benson, who became the first Bengals player to record a rushing and receiving touchdown since Corey Dillon did it against the Detroit Lions on October 28, 2001.
Any one of them are worthy candidates.
This week we're giving credit where its due. With a rookie quarterback and a rushing offense that's historically dominated games, rushing for 140 yards rushing in nine games and over 240 yards in three games in 2009, the Bengals defense spent all week talking about tackling and defending against the run. Cincinnati did just that, holding the Panthers rushing offense to a season-low 87 yards rushing. Well, a season-low by two yards. Cincinnati also forced four turnovers -- interception and three fumbles (most since recovering four against the Baltimore Ravens on November 11, 2007) -- allowed only two of 11 third down conversions and 4.6 yards/play all of the while holding the opposing quarterback to a completion percentage less than 50%.
Our Game Ball of the Week goes to Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, for game-planning by confusing a rookie quarterback, being the defensive coordinator of a unit that generated four turnovers and stalled many drives on third downs.