Here it is--the last "Unsung Hero of the Week Award" of the season. I hope by now that you all understand how this article works and what it's about. This piece honors the "guy behind the scenes" who does some of the necessary dirty work to help his team along the way. This week's selection for the award was difficult because of the Bengals' poor performance in the Wild Card game against the Texans.
I want to give a shout out to the readers for making this article a weekly staple by continually reading it, as well as commenting and casting votes. So, thank you all and send us out with a bang until we return with this feature for the 2012 season.
As I said, there were very few standout players in the 21-point playoff loss. One player, who was a constant Cincy Jungle MVP nominee this season, didn't do anything electric in the game but was definitely contributing. Wide receiver A.J. Green had five catches for 47 yards, including two that were first downs. More than his statistics, Green constantly demanded double coverage from two of the Texans' best cover men--Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning. This should have paved the way for another offensive player to step up, but unfortunately, no one else really took advantage.
Perhaps the only player that stood out on defense was safety Reggie Nelson. He registered six tackles as well as a sack on T.J. Yates. He helped to limit Yates to only 159 yards and a 55% completion rate. When the secondary was victimized on the day, it was mostly the other safety Chris Crocker that stumbled--not Nelson. Furthermore, a priority of the Bengals defensive plan going into this game was to limit the tight ends and at least the team succeeded there. He has quickly made himself a valuable commodity to the Bengals and should be one of their highest priorities to re-sign this offseason.
Lastly, any time that a team gets blown out of a game, you'll likely find that the team on the losing end of the blowout had a good performance by their punter. Kevin Huber had three punts on the day for a strong 48.3 yard average per punt. He dropped one of them inside the opposition's twenty-yard line and made it difficult for the Texans' return game as they only registered fourteen total return yards on those three punts. A solid game, capping off a solid 2011 for Huber.
So, for the last time this season, who gets your vote for the "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?