Sunday's game against the Broncos displayed a little bit of everything from the Bengals: good, bad and ugly. They had their opportunities to pull out the win, but as is the way of Bengaldom, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Still, even with shortcomings in many areas, it was one of the better all-around team performances of 2012.
Many players contributed in a variety of ways and we'll start with recognizing strong safety Chris Crocker. Though the Bengals pass defense struggled as a whole, Crocker stepped in to start at safety and solidified the spot as best as he could. He led the team in tackles with seven total and contributed against the run as well. For a guy that has had his share of fan gripes over the past couple of seasons, he has been a relatively steady presence in the secondary.
the next candidate we looked at was Brandon Tate. Another target of Bengals fans' ire, Tate has really stepped up in the return game of late. He had three kick returns on Sunday and each return was a quality one, giving the offense great starting field position. Even with the recent rules affecting kickoff returns, Tate had a 35-yard return average with a long of 43. These returns were particularly key as most were in response to a Broncos score and kept the team in the game.
We decided to do something a bit unique this week for the Unsung Hero of the Week, in that we are giving it to a group. The defensive front seven really fell on their faces with a lack of a pass rush on Sunday, but they were superb against the run. The Broncos' leading rusher was Willis McGahee and he had 66 yards and a 2.87 yards per carry with a long gain of 12 yards. There were no touchdowns given up on the ground and it was that type of effort against the run that would have given any team a victory had they not have been facing a Manning.
Who gets your vote for the Week Nine "Unsung Hero of the Week"?