We've already highlighted some of the Bengals who we felt went unsung on Sunday, so let's take a look at some of the more spotlighted performers. For this week's Most Valuable Player nominees, we've decided to stick primarily to the offensive side of the ball, as that's where we found the more dominant performers of the day. That's not to say that the defense didn't have its share of contributors, but rather that we found groups of players doing great things on that side of the ball.
For the third straight week, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton put up a stellar performance. He led a number of 80-plus-yard drives that resulted in touchdowns and had a turnover-less performance. He outshined his predecessor, Carson Palmer and threw for 210 yards and three touchdowns in the 34-10 drubbing of the Raiders. Since being called out by his head coach, Dalton has come on strong and was anointed one of the team captains recently.
One of Dalton's favorite targets of the day, rookie Mohamed Sanu, has to get a nod for an MVP nomination as well. Sanu has also played well of late, recording four touchdowns in the last three contests. He had two of those four against the Raiders on Sunday, with one being a highlight reel one-hander and the other on a third and goal. He started opposite A.J. Green on the outside and often gets plugged into the slot, where he has become a reliable middle-of-the-field target for Dalton. Aside from that, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has found creative ways to integrate Sanu, as we've seen him take handoffs as a halfback at times. We could look at this past Sunday's performance as a breakout game for the youngster.
Then there's big Andrew Whitworth. Though 2012 hasn't been his best season as a pro, he's still one of the better left tackles in the NFL today. On Sunday, Whitworth kept Andy Dalton relatively clean (Dalton was only sacked twice) and helped to pave the way for the Bengals running backs to take over the game. Aside from helping Bengals backs to a 200-plus yard rushing performance, Whitworth also showed his nasty side by going after Lamarr Houston and other Raiders players after Dalton received a late tackle after the whistle. It was great to see Whitworth show that fire and leadership--though it was equally as great to see him stick up for the Bengals' new quarterback in front of Carson Palmer.
Lastly, you have to give BenJarvus Green-Ellis his props. No. 42 has been on a tear of late, garnering back-to-back 100-yard rushing games for the Bengals and it's no coincidence that those two were the most lopsided wins for the Bengals this year. Green-Ellis broke two big runs against Oakland, including a career-long 48-yard scamper. He had 129 yards on the ground on a 6.8 yards per carry average a touchdown. He is currently nominated for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week and he makes our list of MVP candidates.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals Most Valuable Player of Week 12?