By now you should know how we work this weekly installment here at Cincy Jungle. There's always numerous contributing players to any team's victory. Some of these contributors are more obvious and others are overlooked. This article recognizes the guys "behind the scenes", giving credit where it's due. The nominees for this prestigious award are those who are not mentioned in our Weekly Most Valuable Player or the Weekly Game Ball posts.
Last week, we switched up the direction of this weekly feature due to the Bengals bye week. Given that the team didn't play, we gave the award to Jeremy Mincey, defensive end for the Jacksonville Jaguars for his efforts in his team's surprising victory over the Baltimore Ravens. That marked the first and conceivably only time that this award will be given to a player not on the Bengals.
In their 34-12 drubbing of the Seattle Seahawks, the Bengals had a lot of players that made their presence known in the wake of victory. This week was especially intriguing because there were a lot of players filling in for other starters that were inactive or limited this week.On defense, linebacker Brandon Johnson, whose role has been diminished upon his re-signing with the club, stepped in and made a number of plays with Thomas Howard nursing a hamstring injury. He was in on ten tackles and had a hand in stifling the Seahawk running game. His performance was lost in the shuffle with the number of contributors to the collective defensive effort.
On offense, there were a couple of names that we came up with. The first was tight end Donald Lee. He made a couple of key third down catches to keep drives alive--drives that would lead to points. What was most impressive about Lee's performance was that he performed well after getting last-minute notice that he'd be starting. Starter Jermaine Gresham was an eleventh hour roster scratch, forcing Lee to have a big role in the offense. His performance proved what a quality veteran he is.
But, there was another offensive player that we decided to give this week's "Unsung Hero of the Week Award" to. Running back Brian Leonard was thrust into an increased role as well, due to Cedric Benson's one-game suspension. The first down converting machine was at his best again on Sunday. One play being a critical third and five, Leonard received a check down pass and got six yards. First down. On another third and three, Leonard took the ball and surged forward for three and a half yards. First down. He's just one of those players that every time he gets the ball on third down, you expect a conversion because he comes through nearly every time. Though we try to give this award to someone new every week, something tells us that he'll be up for nomination a few more times this season.
Who would get your vote for the "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?