As it is with the weekly MVP Awards here at Cincy Jungle, the names are plentiful every week with the "Unsung Hero of the Week Award". In actuality, the names could be interchangeable on both lists, which actually seems to be a first in the handful of years that we've done this series. The three Bengals wins have been true team efforts, so narrowing down the list of nominees is becoming a daunting task.
Nevertheless, here are our nominees for the Week Three "Unsung Hero of the Week Award":
Andy Dalton: It was the worst performance of the season through the air for Dalton, but he still led his team on big drives and onto a 26-point win. He took advantage of the opportunities that his defense gave him with their turnovers, leading the offense to four touchdown drives. One of them included "the play" and it exemplified Dalton's grit and determination, as he became the first Bengals quarterback to notch a touchdown reception.
Mohamed Sanu: There were calls for Sanu to be on the MVP List and there is validity in that sentiment. However, we threw him (see what I did there?) on this list because he wasn't a leader in a major category on the day--he was just all-around solid. Though his throw was late back to Dalton on "the play", Sanu's arm had some magic in it and he completed his second career touchdown throw. He also had five receptions for 44 yards on the day.
George Iloka: The third-year safety is quickly becoming a player who can seemingly be placed on one of these lists every week. Iloka had the dubious distinction of being the team's leading tackler, which is usually a double-edged sword for teams. He also had a tip that fell into Robert Geathers' hands for a critical interception, squashing any hope for a Tennessee comeback.
Robert Geathers: Speaking of the grizzled veteran on the defensive line, Geathers had a nice game. True to his knack of making a big play, he made a very athletic play for a guy his size on the aforementioned interception. He also forced a holding penalty against him that killed a Titans drive to go along with his three total tackles.
Reggie Nelson: Like his counterpart at safety, Nelson is playing like a guy who could be on this or the MVP list every week. He had six total tackles on the day, but also had a gut-punch interception before the half that almost totally sealed the game for the Bengals early on. The defense had it's back against their end zone after a Dalton interception, but Nelson backed up his quarterback and took the ball away.
Russell Bodine: The rookie had his best game as a pro on Sunday, registering the top Pro Football Focus score of any offensive linemen. He was a big part of the success of the goal line carries by both Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard and was seen pancaking defenders. Like other offensive linemen nominated for this award the previous two weeks, Bodine could be seen as a symbol for the line play as a whole.
Kevin Huber: Marvin Lewis told his team that they were going to try and play a bit of a field position game with the Titans, especially if it was close, and Huber was downright masterful on Sunday. He had four punts and three of them were inside the 20-yard line--one pinning Tennessee so deep that it caused a safety. He and gunner Dre Kirkpatrick are definitely on the same page at the moment.
Mike Pollak: Part of what this award is about surrounds the idea of a player stepping in for another who was injured. Pollak did just that on Sunday, subbing for right guard Kevin Zeitler and playing effective football. The line's play was clean and stout, with Pollak being a major contributor.
Who gets your vote for the Bengals Week Three "Unsung Hero of the Week Award"?