What a crazy game last Sunday. The roller coaster of a game started with a sloppy and depressing first half, putting the Bengals down by ten points. It then followed with a resounding comeback and a second half where the Bengals imposed their will and outscored the Browns 16-3 to hang on for the win. It's like I told my brother: don't despair if this team is seemingly down big at halftime--they'll make it a game in the second half.
With this wacky game, there were a lot of contributors to the comeback on both sides of the ball. We had a lot of people that we here at Cincy Jungle felt were worthy of this award, as well as our weekly "Game Ball" and "MVP" features. This was a difficult week to sort out a winner for this award, but like our beloved Bengals, we found a way and got it done. I'm going to preface this post by saying that this week's winner may have won by the narrowest margin so far this year.
By now, you know the deal with this posting. We're going to give this award to a non-MVP candidate whose contributions may have gone unnoticed in the game, but their impact was felt, nonetheless. Remember to vote for who you pick as this week's "Unsung Hero of the Week Award" winner, and if you pick "other" write in who you think should have received that week's award.
And now, on to the nominees.
First, we look to a player who has been nominated for this award almost every week. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins has quietly put up a Pro Bowl-type of season, leading all NFL defensive tackles with 6.5 sacks on the year. He was active again against the Browns, racking up three total tackles and another sack, bringing that total to the league-leading 6.5 that I mentioned. The sack that he had on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy was quite impressive to watch, as he basically just shoved McCoy and sent him three yards into the air and onto the ground. McCoy was never the same after this hit, apparently injuring his shoulder and appearing gunshy the rest of the game.
Another player that stood out Sunday was the much-maligned Kelly Jennings. The reason Jennings stood out is because he didn't stand out. What I mean by that is we didn't see him get burned again this week, as he had seemed to get beat at least once per game since coming in to replace the injured Leon Hall. There was only one big play in the air by the Browns and most completions were the responsibility of his counterpart, Nate Clements. Jennings was part of a secondary that held Colt McCoy to a 47% completion percentage and only 151 yards in the air. Let's also not forget the great play that Jennings made to end the last Brown's drive and seal the victory for the Bengals. A good day for Jennings, let's hope that he's getting his feet back under him and he'll keep it up down the stretch.
But, we decided to go "truly unsung" with this week's award, giving it to a player on the special teams unit, namely kicker Mike Nugent. "Nuge" has had a pro bowl-type of season, missing only one field goal all year. He hit three field goals on Sunday, raising his season percentage to an incredible 95.5 percent. Throw in two more extra points for good measure and Nugent was responsible for eleven of the 23 total points on the day. He also hit what would be the game winner with under a minute left in the game. It was a great day for Nugent, which really is just a microcosm of the season he's had overall. Let's just hope that I didn't jinx him for the rest of the season by giving him this award.
Who gets your vote for the week twelve "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?