There's no such thing as a "satisfying loss", but the results around the league in Week 17 really softened the blow of the Bengals loss to Ravens. Even though they had a poor showing in their home finale at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals still managed to eke their way into the playoffs, making this season a relative success.
In the battle against the Ravens, there were many players who stepped up and contributed to the Bengals near-comeback and we like to recognize those kind of efforts. Jason Garrison has already posted our MVP picks of the week, so none of those players will be listed in this post. We also try to spread this prestigious award around to different players, if at all possible.
We'll look at the guys who did their respective jobs, even though those jobs might have gone unnoticed.When the Bengals faced off against the Ravens for the first time in 2011, it was wide receiver Torrey Smith that burned the defense on multiple big plays. It was obvious that the defense really wanted to make sure that that didn't happen again, and at least that part of the defensive game plan was a success. Adam Jones was in charge of covering Smith for most of the day and did well against him, as Smith only had five catches for 33 yards on the day. Jones did have the aid of a strong wind that limited both teams' passing games, but he still held his own against the Ravens' big-play threat.
The much-maligned return man, Brandon Tate, had a solid game against the Ravens. He consistently gave the Bengals good returns on both kickoffs and punts. There weren't any huge plays from Tate, but there were a few solid returns and most importantly, no major gaffes on his part due to the chaotic wind. I still think that Tate has brought quality performances to the squad this season and deserves some credit.
There's also backup running back, Bernard Scott. He had the lone Bengals touchdown of the day, a 25-yarder, and had a couple of other nice runs on the day. He finished with a strong 5.7 yards per carry average and provided a spark in relief of Cedric Benson. The one negative about Scott's day was the drop of a perfect pass from Andy Dalton, which would have resulted in a touchdown. But, he ended up scoring on the big run just a couple of plays later to atone for his mistake.
Who gets your vote for the "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?