Cincy Jungle's Week Five "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Thomas Howard #53 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after the 23-20 victory against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Each week we write a post honoring who we call the "Unsung Hero of the Week". Unlike our weekly Most Valuable Player Award, this award goes to a Bengals player whose accomplishments during the last week's game may have been overshadowed by some other players' more obvious contributions.

Past winners of this very prestigious award have gone to offensive guard Clint Boling, wide receiver Andre Caldwell, defensive lineman Frostee Rucker, and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth.

There were a lot of nominees to choose from during a victory that had its many ups and downs for the Bengals. There were many obvious MVP candidates, but who could be eligible for this award?

In what seems like a weekly nomination, linebacker Thomas Howard had another solid, steady and relatively unnoticed game. If we've said it once, we've said it a million times--Howard is quietly becoming the best offseason acquisition for the Bengals thus far. Aside from the first couple of drives by the Jaguars, Howard was instrumental in holding running back Maurice Jones-Drew under 100 yards rushing--a key to the Bengals victory. He also was part of two huge goal line stands that only led to 6 Jaguars points.

 

Another candidate for this award is kick returner, Brandon Tate. Though he's been the subject of some Bengals fans scorn, he had some big plays on Sunday. He had a big kickoff return and two big punt returns, leading to good field position and crucial points for the team. He did have some questionable decisions on the punt returns and nearly fumbled on the big kickoff return.

So, with that, we'll give the nod to Howard. He's long overdue for this award and he's quietly been a big contributor on a defense that's mostly carried this team to the 3-2 record that they currently hold. The linebacker corps has gotten some recognition this year, but not nearly as much as the defensive line and not nearly as much as they deserve.

Who would get your vote for "The Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?

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