It's time for the latest installment of the "Unsung Hero of the Week Award", this time honoring an unnoticed Bengals player for their efforts in last week's huge win against the Buffalo Bills. In case you haven't kept up (shame on you), week one's winner was offensive guard Clint Boling, followed by wide receiver Andre Caldwell and then defensive end Frostee Rucker.
This award is not the same as the Most Valuable Player award. This award acknowledges the efforts of someone that may have been overshadowed by a more obvious candidate. With the last two weeks being Bengals losses, it became difficult to give out this award. Luckily, week four turned out to be a total team victory so there were a lot of nominees for this award as well as the weekly MVP award.
If you look around at the game tape, you'll find a number of Bengals players making plays and contributing to the miraculous comeback against the Bills. And, you won't find them solely on one side of the ball either--all three units played their part in the victory.
And now, a couple of the nominees:
One that came to mind immediately was weakside linebacker, Thomas Howard. While his counterpart in the middle, Rey Maualuga, got most of the love for the defensive unit, Howard was matched up against a number of different Bills players and was a major contributor to holding the electric Bills offense in check. We saw him be very active, causing important imcompletions and racking up six tackles. Let's not forget that Howard was an emergency acquisition due to the injury to Keith Rivers' wrist. He's quietly become one of the best pickups of the offseasonfor the Bengals.
Ultimately, we decided to give the award to a very deserving player, offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth. Why? A few reasons. He has quietly put up another Pro Bowl-like season and has been the one consistent player on this year's offensive line. He was a key player that helped lead the way for Cedric Benson to have a 100-yard day on the ground and Andy Dalton to have nearly 300 yards in the air this week. But, perhaps most importantly, I get the feeling that Whitworth, being the team leader that he is, helped rally the troops in the locker room at halftime to kick start the offensive comeback. So, this week's "Unsung Hero of the Week Award" winner is Andrew Whitworth.
I haven't done this yet in these posts, but I want to give an honorable mention to running back Brian Leonard. A man that I call "The White Lightning" showed us once again his ability to come through in the clutch with two big plays on the final, game-winning drive.
Who gets your vote this week?
Who gets your vote for this week's "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?
Offensive Tackle, Andrew Whitworth (50 votes)
Linebacker, Thomas Howard (95 votes)
Running Back, Brian Leonard (101 votes)
Cornerback, Leon Hall (14 votes)
Defensive End, Carlos Dunlap (8 votes)
Defensive Tackle, Geno Atkins (20 votes)
288 total votes