We've said this three other times this season, but awarding a player as the Most Valuable Player in a loss isn't something that we are a fan of. But, with some solid performances in the loss, we have to bestow the award to a deserving candidate. All of the nominees for this week's award were on the defensive side of the ball, given the team's lackluster offensive performance.
First, we have defensive tackle Geno Atkins and his latest game in another Pro Bowl campaign. He had two total tackles and a critical sack of Ben Roethlisberger--and we all know how hard those can be to come by. He grabbed his seventh sack on the year, which puts him at third in the NFL. The sack he grabbed was a highlight reel of a play, as he completely dominated the center and pushed him back into Big Ben. Despite the inconsistencies of the defense, Atkins is a constant performer.
Atkins' fellow defensive lineman, Michael Johnson continues to have himself a great statistical 2012 campaign as well. In the game against Pittsburgh, Johnson had eight total tackles and a sack. At six sacks on the year, he is tied for eighth in the NFL and continues to make his case for a huge contract this offseason.
We decided to give this week's Most Valuable Player award to rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict and his 15-tackle performance. Burfict was one Bengal who truly showed up on Sunday night and made numerous tackles on run plays and screen passes. The only thing tarnishing his evening was Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer's big night on the ground, though that could be laid at the feet of the entire defense. We'll overlook his reported jovial nature after the loss for this week as he's quickly becoming a star on the defense.
Who gets your vote for the Week Seven Most Valuable Player?