You know the drill by now--this is a post that recognizes the hard work of Bengals players that went overlooked in the MVP nominations. Though they weren't nominated for our Player of the Game award, we still feel that these guys were big parts in a two-touchdown win against the Indianapolis Colts. Cast your vote and sound off on your winner!
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict: It only seems right that we include Burfict on one of our lists, even though it wasn't his or the defensive unit's best game. Still, Burfict led the team in tackles once again on Sunday with eight and holds the league lead in that category. He made a couple of nice open field tackles on receivers on Sunday, which helped to limit damage and make life hard on Andrew Luck.
Tight End Jermaine Gresham: When this guy has his head in the game and is utilized correctly, there are few tight ends as effective as he can be. Overshadowed by the play of Marvin Jones and A.J. Green on Sunday, Gresham had a nice little game of his own with five catches, 41 yards and a touchdown reception. It was clear that offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wanted to get the tight ends involved against Indy and the results were solid.
Offensive Tackle Anthony Collins: Why hasn't this guy been a starter again? Since entering in the lineup after injuries forced the Bengals to mix-up their alignment up front, Collins has been quietly spectacular. Collins stifled Robert Mathis, the league's leader in sacks, all Sunday afternoon and helped keep Andy Dalton clean on the day. Collins' play has undoubtedly earned the trust of Dalton and we saw a nice comfort level against Indianapolis.
Offensive Guard Andrew Whitworth: Big Whit. A captain and epitome of a team player, Whitworth shuffled inside to help the Bengals overcome some injury issues. The past two weeks when he has done this have netted 319 rushing yards in the past two weeks--155 this past Sunday. We're not sure if Whitworth has found a long-term home at left guard, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Punter Kevin Huber: Though he did have one subpar punt on Sunday, the rest of Huber's day was solid. He had five punts (which seems odd given the amount of points scored and a fourth down try, but whatever) for 252 yards and a 50.6 average. He did have two touchbacks, though that was a result of him just wanting to boot the heck out the ball. He pinned one inside the 20-yard line and his longest kick was 70 yards.
Punt/Kick Returner Brandon Tate: The man that Bengals fans seemingly love to hate is having himself a solid year and continued it on Sunday. Tate had good returns in both the punt and kick return games, averaging 28.7 yards per return on kickoffs and 18.3 on punts. He had a 43-yard punt return and a 44-yard kick return that both assisted Cincinnati's offense. He had seven total returns for 159 yards was a great overall performance.