Award for an injury? That seems a bit morbid, doesn't it? In a sense, sure, but "awarding" an injury isn't exactly what we're doing in the truest way. You see, the 2014 season for the Bengals might as well be labeled as "The Year That Could Have Been" because of all of the injuries to key players.
Vontaze Burfict, Tyler Eifert, Andre Smith and others all ended up on Injured Reserve, while others missed big chunks of time as well. Their respective vacancies were all felt in one form or another. The CJ contributors weighed in on the subject and you can as well by voting and commenting.
Alberto Luque: Vontaze Burfict. I was very close to going with Maualuga but Taz is the defensive QB and we saw the LB corps was not ready to deal with his injury.
Mickey Mentzer (AKA whodeyfans): Tyler Eifert. It was said that the offense was focused on using the young pass catching tight end. Losing him really limited the ability for Dalton to have a second option outside of A.J. Green. (Close second would be Burfict)
Jason Marcum: Geno Atkins' 2013 ACL tear. That injury clearly lingered into this year and made our best player look like 'another guy', as Paul Guenther so eloquently put it.
Nick Seuberling: Tyler Eifert.
Rebecca Toback: This is a tough one, which is unfortunate because you never want there to be so many influential injuries that it’s too tough to name the worst. Everyone was really looking forward to seeing what Tyler Eifert could do in his second year. I wore his jersey for the first game of the year and it never made its way back out of the closet again for the rest of the season. (See ya in 2015 #85). Then there's Vontaze Burfict, a huge impact player, Pro Bowler and the quarterback of the defense. At this point, we all know the story, and his eventual addition to the Injured Reserve list marked one of the biggest let downs of the season.
Anthony Cosenza: Unfortunately, there are a plethora of injuries to choose from for this "award". It's really close for me between Vontaze Burfict and Tyler Eifert. Reluctantly, I'll choose Eifert because the defense started playing a little better down the stretch, while the offense sputtered with injuries. I look at the playoff loss to the Colts where A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham sat and the offense would have loved a weapon like Eifert. There is a remote possibility that that game would have been closer, maybe even a squeaker win if Eifert was healthy and productive in the lineup.