To be honest it's hard to come up with a deserved Game Ball of the Week winner for any phase of the game after... that. Defense gives up 28 points, special teams gives up a punt return for a touchdown (and allows a blocked field goal) while Cincinnati's offense was fairly inconsistent to the point that the word inconsistent is another translation for completely ineffective. That being said a 28-point loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers won't discourage us from doing our duty as god-fearing Bengals fans.
During his first possession of the game after replacing Andre Smith midway through the second quarter, backup offensive tackle Anthony Collins clearly held his own. A block on Lawrence Timmons opened a lane for Cedric Benson's eight-yard run with 6:44 remaining in the second quarter and a James Worilds pass rush was completely neutralized during a deep pass to A.J. Green that feel incomplete.
Worilds tried bull rushing Collins on the next play, during a quick pass to Jerome Simpson but Collins eventually reestablished his base and slowed the linebacker. On third and ten Worilds tried a speed rush and Collins assisted him by knocking him around the pocket with a nice little shove, giving Andy Dalton enough time to complete the 14-yard pass to A.J. Green with 5:23 remaining in the second quarter. Several plays later Dalton and Green hook up for an 11-yard touchdown in which Worilds was a complete non-factor.
For much of the game Collins and Jason Worilds were locked into each other and the outside linebacker finished the game with an assisted tackle and no quarterback pressures, thanks to Collins who routinely comes into the game and settles down the spot no matter the adversity facing the position.
With 1:39 remaining in the game, the Steelers elected to match James Harrison on Collins -- a match-up that Collins appears to like. When Levi Jones and Andrew Whitworth went down with an injury in 2008, Collins was forced to start at left tackle against the league's eventual defensive player of the year. Collins shut him down. On Sunday Harrison exploded from the left defensive end spot only to collide with Collins, who doesn't buy into the whole spin move thing. Rather Collins will just shove you during mid-spin, disorienting you into a mass of humanity.
With 14:37 remaining in the third quarter, Collins blocked Ziggy Hood towards the line of scrimmage before chipping off onto James Farrior, who was uncontested at the point of attack. Though Farrior was knocked out of the play, Hood recovered enough to make the tackle. It appeared that Bobbie Williams was supposed to resume the Hood block once Collins chipped off but couldn't gain the advantage. Hood's tackle prevented a massive run by Benson, who only gained six yards on the play. Collins wiped out Hood on the following play, though Benson only picked up three yards.
We could go on.
Collins is the first offensive tackle to receive our prestigious weekly award.
Week Two Against Denver: Quarterback Andy Dalton
Week Three Against San Francisco: Defensive End Jonathan Fanene
Week Four Against Buffalo: Place Kicker Mike Nugent
Week Five Against Jacksonville: Tight End Jermaine Gresham
Week Six Against Indianapolis: Quarterback Andy Dalton
Week Seven (Bye Week): Bengals Owner Mike Brown
Week Eight Against Seattle: Defensive End Carlos Dunlap
Week Nine Against Tennessee: Defensive End Carlos Dunlap
Week Ten Against Pittsburgh: Linebacker Manny Lawson
Week Eleven Against Baltimore: Wide Receiver Jerome Simpson
Week Twelve Against Cleveland: Wide Receiver A.J. Green
Week Thirteen Against Pittsburgh: Offensive Tackle Anthony Collins