In a gutsy win like the one we witnessed the Bengals achieve on Sunday, it takes an entire team with unlikely cast members making a play at a critical point. While there were the usual suspects that contributed to the win, a couple of other players were overshadowed by some other dominant performances. The whole formula makes for a good team and that's what the Bengals are looking like right now.
Starting safety Reggie Nelson hasn't had the type of year that we expected since signing a pretty hefty contract this offseason, but he hasn't disappointed, either. In one of his best games of 2012, Nelson had six total tackles, a pass defensed and the critical, game-ending interception in the end zone. He was flying around quite a bit on Sunday and was part of a unit that didn't allow an offensive touchdown to the Chargers, even though Philip Rivers put the ball in the air 46 times.
Defensive tackle Domata Peko has quietly put up another solid year for the Bengals. He had a quality game up front and helped control the line of scrimmage and limit Ryan Mathews to just 26 yards on the ground. Peko had four total and a half of a sack and is often overlooked with the play of his fellow linemates.
Andrew Hawkins suited up for the first time in a couple of weeks and contributed in the way that he always does: from the slot. He had five catches for 47 yards and was used on a neat trick play that included him passing the ball back to Andy Dalton, who subsequently hit Marvin Jones with a nice pass. "Baby Hawk" stepped up nicely in the absence of Mohamed Sanu, who is out for the season with a broken bone in his foot.
One last nominee we had to look at is rookie offensive guard, Kevin Zeitler. You rarely hear his name called, which as an offensive lineman, that's often a good sign. He has been a steady and dominating presence on the right side of the line with big Andre Smith and he has been a major reason for the resurgence of the running game over the past three weeks. This past Sunday was more of the same from Zeitler, who is shaping up to be one of the better first round picks for the Bengals in recent memory.
Who gets your vote for the "Unsung Hero of the Week Award" for Week 13?