It was a pretty boring (or ugly) first half in Week 17 between the Bengals and Ravens, but it got more interesting in the second half. Cincinnati shot to a 24-9 lead in the fourth quarter, but a late touchdown by Baltimore made it a theoretical one-possession game.
Even though points seemed to come at a premium for both teams, the offensive stars for Cincinnati shined bright. Cast your vote for the Bengals' Week 17 Most Valuable Player and sound off on your selection in the comments!
QB AJ McCarron: Efficient and turnover-free is what you want from a backup quarterback and McCarron mostly provided both. Aside from third down woes, McCarron didn't give away the football and has just one in three starts, while also throwing two touchdowns. He isn't dominating the highlight shows with his play, but he is 2-1 as a starter this year, with his only loss coming in overtime against the Broncos.
RB Jeremy Hill: Even though it was his second-highest yardage total of 2015 with 96 on the ground, one could argue it was Hill's best day of the year. He had his longest run of the season with a 38-yard score on a fourth-and-one to break the backs of the Ravens and was pretty consistent in churning out positive yardage on the afternoon. He was also nominated as a FedEx Ground Player of the Week.
TE Tyler Eifert: In his first game back since suffering a concussion against the Steelers a few weeks ago, Eifert continued his path to stardom. He finished as the team's leading receiver with four catches for 51 yards and another touchdown--his 13th of the year. If Eifert can remain healthy throughout the Wild Card match against the Steelers, he should be a big factor.
LB Vontaze Burfict: Holy moly--was this guy everywhere, or what? Burfict continues to inspire the entire defense to play better and had a terrific game on Sunday afternoon. He finished with 12 total tackles and a diving interception of Ryan Mallett. It's good news that he has been playing well after having such a scary procedure done last offseason.
RB Cedric Peerman: Usually special teams players, especially gunners and coverage men make our "Unsung Hero" list. However, Peerman was such a stud on the often-forgotten unit of football, we just had to put him on the MVP list. He had four total tackles, often wrapping up return men deep in their own territory to give Baltimore poor field position. It doesn't sound like much compared to some of the others listed above, but with a one-score game on the line, he made a difference.