There were many deserving candidates for Bengals players to receive the MVP award, usually signifying a true team win. We run down the list of the best of the best, with many of the usual suspects. Cast your vote and sound off on your Week 11 winner!
Andy Dalton, QB: Talk about a bounce-back week. Dalton showed that he and the rest of the offense prepared well in the extended week and came out with a blend of efficiency and explosiveness. Dalton had two of his best passes as a pro in the fourth quarter--both to wide receiver A.J. Green. The first was a 38-yard bomb on a third and 18 in the shadow of their own end zone and the other capped the same drive with a 24-yard floater that hit Green in stride. Dalton finished the day 16 of 22, 220 yards, three touchdowns and zero turnovers.
A.J. Green, WR: As was already mentioned, Green had a monster second half against the Saints, including the two big plays to essentially ice the victory. Though he didn't get many first half opportunities, they adjusted the game plan to get Green the ball and he answered the bell with six catches, 127 yards and a touchdown. Though the score was reviewed, Green did a nice job of tight-roping the sidelines and catching the ball simultaneous to his first foot being on the ground.
Jeremy Hill, RB: Hill had his second 100-yard rushing day as a pro and was a key factor in beating the Saints. He had a great Louisiana homecoming with 27 carries for 152 yards, including the 62-yard sprint to set up a critical field goal just before the half. Since Giovani Bernard has been sitting, Hill has two 150-yard rushing performances in the past three weeks.
Jermaine Gresham, TE: Two catches, two touchdowns. It's hard to be much more efficient with your opportunities than No. 84 was on Sunday. The first one was an adventure, as he somehow was able to recover his own fumble in the end zone among a pile of New Orleans defenders. His second, however, was a walk in the park, as he was all alone after a play-action fake. Gresham also said that he would give a nice gift to the two women who were slighted by a Saints fan in receiving the touchdown ball that he threw to them as a souvenir.
Rey Maualuga, LB: One game back and the entire defense looks different. Perhaps it's because of his savvy experience in the defensive system and as an NFL linebacker, or perhaps he was just totally fired up to be back on the field after missing four games. Either way, the struggling run defense was incredibly stout against New Orleans' sixth-ranked rushing attack. Though he had just three tackles on the day, Maualuga seemed to be everywhere and was the key defender in the big goal line stand.
Domata Peko, DT: Like his quarterback, Peko had a whale of a redemption game. After struggling to get leverage and being pushed back off the line of scrimmage for the past handful of games, Peko really held his ground well against the Saints. He, along with others, were the key defenders in shutting down the run. After allowing seven straight games with 100 yards or more on the ground by the opposition, New Orleans had just 75 on Sunday. Peko was a big reason why.
Carlos Dunlap, DE: It could be argued that big No. 96 has been Cincinnati's most consistent player on defense this season. Though he didn't rack up any sacks and had just two total tackles, he had a batted ball and a forced fumble that was recovered by Will Clarke. Additionally, Dunlap applied pressure often on the afternoon, forcing Drew Brees to throw short and/or offensive linemen to get holding penalties while attempting to block him.