When you score 34 points in a football game, you're going to have your fair share of heroes. In the "Battle of Ohio" that ensued on Sunday between the Browns and Bengals, there was a large amount of players that one could point to as contributors to the shootout victory.
I'm pretty sure that you should know the deal by now, but in case you've missed this weekly feature last year and up until now, I'll explain. This prestigious honor that we bestow on a Bengals player every week is one that recognizes strong efforts that may have gone unnoticed, or were overshadowed by more obvious contributors. This award gives credit to the guy who may have faded into the background. We honored the other guys who shined in the spotlight earlier in our MVP feature.
Our first nominee is kicker Mike Nugent. "Mr. Automatic" has been great in two games this year and racked up ten total points yesterday. Remember that nervous feeling that you had every time Neil Rackers and/or Shayne Graham lined up for an important kick? Nugent has helped to quell that feeling and just keeps on kicking well for this club. A kicker's job is usually a thankless one, and the recognition they receive is usually only after missing a kick.
Even though the defense played poorly as a unit on Sunday, there still was one guy who played pretty well. Defensive end Michael Johnson had quite the statistical game, garnering a sack, a fumble recovery and three tackles. He was giving the Browns' offensive line fits for a good part of the day and played in 90% of the defensive snaps. In fact, if you listened to the CBS telecast of the game, you would have heard Steve Tasker mention Johnson as a standout player on the line. Aside from the stats mentioned above, he also forced all-world tackle, Joe Thomas into penalties, which was impressive. We expect his production to rise even more when Carlos Dunlap finally returns to the lineup.
We decided to name cornerback Adam Jones as the winner of the Week Two "Unsung Hero of the Week" award. It wasn't for his defense, though. Before the Bengals offense even stepped on the field, Jones took a punt 81 yards for a score. On the return, Jones avoided six tackles and outran numerous other Browns players--it was an impressive play for his first stint at the job of this season. Since it was so early in the game and it later became a shootout, it would be easy to forget the play and/or feel that it's impact was lessened. It ended up being the difference in the final score and set the tone for the day.
Who gets your vote for the "Unsung Hero of the Week" Award?