Unlike with an MVP Award, finding a "diamond in the rough" during a loss can be somewhat easy. There are a lot of guys to point to that one can say "even though the team lost, he looked good", or "the rest of the team looked like garbage, but he really stood out". Those are some of the qualities that we look for in the recipient of this award.
This award goes out to the underdog, the "little guy"--it's really an award given to a player who we feel gave a ton of effort. There were only a couple of players who exuded that trait in last night's shellacking at the hands of the Ravens. Let's go over the candidates and award the winner.
Center Jeff Faine was thrown into the starting lineup after an injury to Kyle Cook and performed admirably. Only having two practices with full pads, Faine helped pave the way to BenJarvus Green-Ellis' good night. To further the point, there weren't many mental mistakes on the line, especially given how loud M & T Bank Stadium was on Monday night. Really, the entire interior offensive line, complete with three new starters, played pretty well.
Kicker Mike Nugent was responsible for the majority of Bengal points last night. With seven total, two on field goals including a 34-yarder, Nugent continued to solidify his status as a top kicker in the AFC. At the risk of jinxing him, it's nice to have a feeling of "automatic points" when Nugent lines up for a kick. So far in this very young season, he's earned that franchise tag designation.
Ultimately, we decided to give the "Unsung Hero of the Week" Award to wide receiver, Andrew Hawkins. "Baby Hawk" quietly led the team in receptions (eight), yards (86) and yards per catch (10.8). Astoundingly, the vast majority of his yards were made after the catch, as many of his receptions were on bubble screens and short passes. His speed and elusiveness (especially with his short stature) make him a big offensive threat. We were waiting to see who would assert themselves as a No.2 wide receiver opposite A.J. Green, and in somewhat surprising fashion, it was Hawkins who emerged on Monday night. We're seeing what offensive coordinator Jay Gruden loves about the little guy, and as more time goes by more people are asking "Jordan who?".
Who gets your vote for Cincy Jungle's "Unsung Hero of the Week" Award?