We like doing weekly awards for the Bengals, in case you can't tell. Last season, we started a new award called "The Unsung Hero of the Week Award", which honored some of the Bengals whose positive contributions may have gone overlooked by those of the weekly MVP candidates. Don't be surprised to see both offensive and defensive linemen on this list throughout the season, as well as rotational and/or role players.
One of the bright spots on offense definitely had to be with the team's tight ends in Jermaine Gresham and rookie Tyler Eifert. Gresham played angry and broke too many tackles to count on his way converting first downs. There weren't many huge chunk plays by Gresham, but he caught all five throws his way and is making a case to Bengals fans to forget the poor game he had against the Texans in the playoffs last season.
Not to be outdone by Gresham, Eifert came in as advertised. The team found creative ways to use him and he responded by being the second leading receiver in the game. He too caught all five passes thrown at him and finished with 47 yards receiving. Eifert will continue to be a nice secondary and tertiary option in this offense in the games ahead.
Fellow rookie Giovani Bernard did some nice things as well. His 5.5 yards per carry average begged the question on why he didn't get more touches on the day, He flashed as a runner and receiver, with 30 total yards on five touches (four rushing, one receiving). As they get more comfortable with Bernard going forward, he will likely have a bigger impact in the offense--especially if BenJarvus Green-Ellis continues sub-two-yards per carry average.
What about Taylor Mays? After being an easy target for criticism by most that follow the team, Mays stepped into a completely new position and did well enough. On just 13 snaps at outside linebacker, Mays recorded three tackles and was part of a group that helped to contain Matt Forte. Say what you want about Mays' history in Cincinnati, but you have to give a guy credit for competently playing a completely foreign position.
Who gets your vote for the Week One "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?