The Cincinnati Bengals fell to 0-1 in the 2016 preseason, but many positives will be taken away from the team's performance in the opener against the Vikings. The starters didn't play all that long, but were very effective on both sides of the ball when they were in the game.
Some of the Most Valuable Player nominees for the week were obvious, but part of the preseason is about looking through the weeds to find other quality performances. With so many substitutions that take place in these exhibition contests, there are a number of players who contributed to the overall effort. Cast your vote and sound off on your Bengals selection for the Unsung Hero of the Week!
Andy Dalton, Quarterback: Much of the starting offense basically played just one series, but Dalton looked to be as sharp as the 2015 version. He finished 4-of-5 passing for 32 yards and had the team in field goal range in the opening drive, positioning the team for an early lead. Unfortunately that lead was never achieved, but Dalton did his job to help make it possible.
A.J. Green, Wide Receiver: The Dalton/Green duo looked to once again be jiving on Friday night, as the Pro Bowl wideout hauled in three of Dalton's four completions. He finished with 26 receiving yards and two of the three catches went for first downs. He was a big performer on the opening drive.
Tyler Boyd, Wide Receiver: Undrafted rookie free agent Alex Erickson stole the show, but Boyd didn't disappoint either. He only had one catch, but it was an impressive 40-yard reception down the sideline and put the Bengals in position for an ensuing touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter.
Jeff Luc, Fullback: The Bengals had some nice spurts running the ball early on and Luc was eating up would-be tacklers on some of the plays. Ryan Hewitt played more tight end early on because of injuries to both Tyler Kroft and Tyler Eifert, so Luc, currently transitioning from college linebacker to pro fullback, saw early action. Part of the criteria for this award is players stepping up in new/different roles and Luc definitely did so on Friday.
Cedric Ogbuehi, Offensive Tackle: It was a nice debut as the starting right tackle for the Bengals, as he didn't give up any sacks and the run game seemed to be improved from what we've seen in the early parts of training camp. There were times where he didn't seem to have the best technique, but overall it was a nice night from the second-year tackle.
Brandon Tate, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner: Yep--Captain Preseason struck again on Friday night. Tate had a pair of catches for 26 yards, including a nice 20-yarder from AJ McCarron. He also added a 24-yard kickoff return, showing the veteran versatility that has kept him on the roster since 2011.
Jimmy Wilson, Safety: The Bengals only forced one turnover off the Vikings on Friday, but it was a beauty. After Keith Wenning threw an interception for the Bengals, Wilson made a diving interception of his own one play later. It didn't lead to any Bengals points, but it was a nice evening from a recent addition to the team's roster.
Who gets your vote for this week's Bengals Unsung Hero of the Week?