Obviously when a team loses, nominating and then naming the best players seems like a pointless exercise. At the same time, while the Bengals lost, there were good performances by players that shouldn't be ignored. And really, did you expect us to curl in a ball after a loss and not talk until Tuesday? Please. This is sports. Not real life.
A.J. Green: The Bengals superstar receiver was the best and worst of two worlds. He led the team with 162 yards receiving on nine receptions and scored two of Cincinnati's three touchdowns. Two receptions went over 40 yards and at one point, he did it with an injury finger that he had taped up.
On the other hand, he was responsible for Dalton's second interception (when the football bounced off his hands) and fumbled another the football after a reception. The good outweighed the bad. The interception didn't lead to any points for the Bears and the fumble was fortunately kicked out of bounds by a Bears defender.
Vontaze Burfict: One could argue that defense was the worst of Cincinnati's loss. They couldn't get off the field on third downs (Chicago converted four of six third downs in the second half) and Chicago was converting multiple long third down situations -- and with ease it seemed like.
However, Burfict led the team in tackles (8), passes defensed, and intercepted a Jay Cutler pass when the Bengals need to shift momentum badly. And after the interception, Burfict was forced out of the game twice only to man up and re-join his teammates on the field. It wasn't just a gutsy performance -- he was the most productive defensive player on the field.
Andy Dalton: You could blame anyone for Dalton's first interception. Maybe he shouldn't have thrown the football when Charles Tillman broke. Maybe it was Green for not taking a more aggressive route that would have prevented Tillman from cutting off Green's lane (offensive pass interference at the very least prevents a turnover). Or maybe Tillman just made a good play and there's nothing else that can be said about it.
When it was all said and done, Dalton set a career high in completion percentage (78.8 percent) for a single game, completing 26 of 33 passes (only five incomplete passes) and he did it using high-risk risk throws that generated five plays of over 15 yards or more -- including two over 40.
Anthony Collins: Not only did Collins prevent defensive end Julius Peppers from generating a quarterback sack, people looking at the game book wouldn't have known that Peppers even played.
It was a total shutdown by Cincinnati's backup left tackle.