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Bengals 2021 midseason awards: Cast your vote!

Cast your vote and sound off on your winners for various Bengals 2021 awards

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

We’re essentially at the midway point of the NFL season and it’s been a pretty good one for the Bengals. They’ve lost some tough ones, but are in the thick of the AFC North and postseason races at 5-4.

There have been some great individual and team performances so far and we are honoring those. Cast your vote on the 2021 midseason awards for the Cincinnati Bengals and sound off on your winners in the comments!

Coach of the Year

Zac Taylor:

There has been a recent slide by the team, but Taylor has the Bengals in the playoff hunt at the midway point in the season. He seems to have grown as a play-caller and we’ve seen a bit of the needed team growth in this critical third year of his head coaching tenure.

Lou Anarumo:

Again, questions are being raised with the recent two-game slide, as it pertains to Anarumo’s defensive unit. Still, they are playing much improved football this year, as evidenced by their No. 6 ranking in rush yards allowed and No. 12 standing in quarterback sacks. There are flaws, but increased health and contributions by recent free agency additions have been key to a resurgence.

Brian Callahan:

While Taylor is the primary play-caller, Callahan remains an important staff figure. Under his watch, Joe Burrow is taking nice second-year steps, while Joe Mixon is the eighth-leading rusher in the NFL and Ja’Marr Chase is the current favorite to win NFL Rookie of the Year.

Darrin Simmons:

The kick and punt return games have left a lot to be desired, but the move to Evan McPherson was a sage one, as was the continued reliance upon Kevin Huber. The latter is tied for sixth in punts pinned inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, while the rookie kicker has largely been money with two game-winning kicks already under his belt.

Marion Hobby:

The team made the decision to grab Hobby from the Miami Dolphins this offseason as their defensive line coach and he has supplied the team with a big boost in the pass-rush game, while also giving the occasional solid performance against the run. Sam Hubbard is arguably having his best pro season, while Trey Hendrickson is seventh in the NFL with 8.5 sacks and the interior linemen also pitching in there.

Frank Pollack:

Along with Hobby, Pollack’s addition to the staff was one of the biggest offseason moves by the Bengals. The run game has been inconsistent, but far improved from the past two seasons, while the same can be said about the offensive line.

Poll

Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason Coach of the Year?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Zac Taylor
    (62 votes)
  • 19%
    Lou Anarumo
    (59 votes)
  • 4%
    Brian Callahan
    (15 votes)
  • 5%
    Darrin Simmons
    (17 votes)
  • 16%
    Marion Hobby
    (51 votes)
  • 30%
    Frank Pollack
    (92 votes)
  • 2%
    Other
    (8 votes)
304 votes total Vote Now

Rookie of the Year

Ja’Marr Chase:

Simply put, Chase has been marvelous this year. Things have slowed a bit the past two weeks, but he was integral in the wins against the Ravens, Steelers and Vikings. He’s been in the echelons of Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss with 44 catches for 835 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games.

Cam Sample:

In a rotational role, Sample has been a decent role player. He has eight tackles and a sack on the year.

Evan McPherson:

As mentioned earlier, McPherson has two game-winners this year and has largely been solid. He is 16-of-16 on extra points and 11-of-14 on field goal attempts, including 3-of-4 from 50-plus yards.

Chris Evans:

The rookie running back has had a few nice moments in a reserve role, particularly as a pass-catcher. He has four rushes for 18 yards to go with nine catches for 115 yards and a touchdown reception.

Poll

Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason Rookie of the Year?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    Ja’Marr Chase
    (297 votes)
  • 2%
    Cam Sample
    (8 votes)
  • 4%
    Evan McPherson
    (13 votes)
  • 0%
    Chris Evans
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now

Unsung Hero of the Year

Quinton Spain:

The big left guard has been a great addition on a rental-type, one-year deal. He has an offensive line-high 75.0 overall Pro Football Focus grade and has quietly been a key to the offense’s rise in play.

B.J. Hill:

The Bengals swung a last-minute trade before the regular season and it has worked out masterfully. As a heavy rotational piece, Hill has a 75.1 PFF grade. He had 23 total tackles and three sacks on the year.

C.J. Uzomah:

As the year began, we figured Uzomah would have a nice season, but expectations were tempered for a number of reasons. However, No. 87 has quietly put together a borderline Pro Bowl season, racking up five touchdowns on 25 catches this year. He’s also pitched in as a blocker.

Riley Reiff:

Cincinnati eschewed the opportunity to go with a tackle in the first round of the draft, opting instead for a solid veteran at right tackle. Reiff has brought stability to the offensive line, as he has collected a 70.8 overall PFF score this season.

Tee Higgins:

The second-year receiver has battled some drops and injuries, but has still been a top target for Burrow. He has two touchdown receptions and a two-point conversion catch, with 431 receiving yards on the season.

Larry Ogunjobi:

The Bengals took a shot on the interior defender and he has come up with some big plays. He’s been a little boom-or-bust on a per-snap basis, but has 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks midway through the season.

Poll

Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason Unsung Hero of the Year?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Quinton Spain
    (87 votes)
  • 7%
    B.J. Hill
    (24 votes)
  • 43%
    C.J. Uzomah
    (140 votes)
  • 5%
    Riley Reiff
    (17 votes)
  • 4%
    Tee Higgins
    (13 votes)
  • 12%
    Larry Ogunjobi
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
320 votes total Vote Now

Midseason Play of the Year

Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown catch vs. Vikings:

After hearing a bunch of doubts all preseason because of struggles, Chase wanted to shut everyone up in the opener. Burrow uncorked a 50-yard bomb to Chase that he caught and darted in the end zone right before halftime.

Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown catch vs. Steelers:

Spoiler alert: there will be a lot of Chase highlights in this category. Again utilizing the pre-halftime gut-punch, Burrow unleashed a deep ball to Chase, who caught it on his fingertips and somehow maintained his balance for a score.

Logan Wilson’s interception versus Pittsburgh:

The defense came up big against the Steelers in that win, as well. Wilson had two interceptions in this game, with this diving grab off of a tip being a beauty.

C.J. Uzomah’s touchdown reception versus Jacksonville:

The Bengals were struggling on primetime against the lowly Jaguars on an evening in which they unveiled the Ring of Honor. Needing a spark in the third quarter, Burrow went to his big tight end to start the momentum swing going their way.

Evan McPherson’s game-winning field goal versus Jaguars:

Uzomah started the comeback against Jacksonville and McPherson completed it. For the second time in four weeks, the rookie came through with a huge game-winner, to put the Bengals at 3-1.

Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown catch vs. Packers:

Let’s play some backyard football! Burrow bought time for nearly eight full seconds before rolling out and dealing a bomb to Chase. While it was a good throw, the concentration to come away with the catch from a defender swiping at the ball was incredible.

Joe Mixon’s touchdown catch versus Lions:

Cincinnati was having a tough time with the Lions and needed a big play on a fourth down. Taylor dialed up a beauty with a play-action and flat pass to Mixon, who took it to the house. Making it particularly pretty was Chase’s huge block to spring him.

Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown reception versus Baltimore:

What else can we say here? Chase took a slant and broke multiple tackles en route to the end zone. It kick-started the rout by the Bengals and brought back memories of A.J. Green’s killer catch in Baltimore back in 2015.

Poll

What gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason Play of the Year?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown catch versus Minnesota
    (7 votes)
  • 9%
    Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown catch versus Pittsburgh
    (26 votes)
  • 6%
    Logan Wilson’s diving interception against the Steelers
    (19 votes)
  • 8%
    C.J. Uzomah’s touchdown catch versus Jaguars
    (24 votes)
  • 3%
    Evan McPherson’s game-winning kick versus Jacksonville
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown catch versus Green Bay
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    Joe Mixon’s touchdown catch versus Detroit
    (18 votes)
  • 59%
    Ja’Marr Chase’s touchdown reception versus Baltimore
    (165 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (4 votes)
279 votes total Vote Now

Special Teams Most Valuable Player

Clark Harris:

Cincinnati’s version of “Thor” continues to be the pinnacle of special teams consistency. No snap snafus, as the “battery” of he, McPherson and Huber have been solid.

Kevin Huber:

As mentioned above, the veteran lefty still knows how to flip the field position in the Bengals’ favor. With the Bengals’ offense being feast-or-famine at times, Huber’s veteran savviness has helped Cincinnati.

Evan McPherson:

McPherson has had a few misses, but he’s also had some huge kicks. His 75% success rate on boots longer than 50 yards is one of the major reasons for which he was drafted, as he is perfect on extra point attempts, as well.

Poll

Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason Special Teams MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Clark Harris
    (28 votes)
  • 10%
    Kevin Huber
    (28 votes)
  • 78%
    Evan McPherson
    (202 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
258 votes total Vote Now

Defensive Most Valuable Player

Trey Hendrickson:

There were questions as to the big contract the Bengals paid Hendrickson this offseason, but he has responded to the initial criticism. Hendrickson is among the NFL’s top leaders in sacks (8.5), pressures and pressure rate—all major metrics to gauge defensive performance.

Sam Hubbard:

One could argue that this is the best football we’ve seen Hubbard play as a pro. He’s showing up against the run and is a nice complement to Hendrickson as a pass-rusher. He has a decent 66.6 PFF score, complete with 40 tackles and five sacks at the midway point.

D.J. Reader:

Quietly, Reader has been one of the Bengals’ best players on the entire roster. He has 28 total tackles, a sack and three quarterback hits. He also has an outstanding 85.8 overall PFF score this year.

Logan Wilson:

Like the rest of the team, Wilson has slowed in production the past two weeks, but he was one of the best linebackers in the entire NFL throughout the first seven games of the season. He has four interceptions, 78 total tackles and a forced fumble this season.

Chidobe Awuzie:

While the stat columns won’t show dominance, the film does. Awuzie has largely been a lockdown corner, with an interception to his name. He has been one of the better players on defense, per PFF metrics, with a 75.1 overall score.

Jessie Bates III:

Even the star safety will tell you he hasn’t been playing up to standards, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played well overall. He has an interception and has been more present in run defense this year, with 55 total tackles—two for loss. He also had the big interception at the beginning of the Jets game.

Poll

Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason defensive MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Trey Hendrickson
    (103 votes)
  • 2%
    Sam Hubbard
    (7 votes)
  • 11%
    D.J. Reader
    (31 votes)
  • 20%
    Logan Wilson
    (55 votes)
  • 24%
    Chidobe Awuzie
    (66 votes)
  • 1%
    Jessie Bates III
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Othe
    (0 votes)
267 votes total Vote Now

Offensive Most Valuable Player

Joe Burrow:

We have to include the franchise quarterback, right? While the interception numbers have climbed, the fumble numbers have drastically dropped from his rookie year. Additionally, Burrow is among the tops in the NFL in passing yards (2,215), passing touchdowns (20) and yards per attempt (8.7), rating (102.6) for those with significant attempts.

Joe Mixon:

The star running back has been doing a little bit of everything. He is in the eighth in the NFL for rushing yards and fourth with rushing touchdowns (7), while going for 4.2 yards per attempt. He has also added 22 catches for 194 yards and two more touchdowns through the air.

Ja’Marr Chase:

The No. 5 overall pick has arguably been the best player of the entire 2021 draft class. He’s averaging 19.0 yards per catch per his 44 receptions. Seven went for touchdowns, as he was among the league’s best historical wide receivers through the first half of the season.

C.J. Uzomah:

Yes, we decided to nominate him for multiple awards. Uzomah is second on the team in touchdown receptions and has ascended into a team leadership role. He was critical in the wins over Jacksonville and Baltimore—two of the biggest games, for varying reasons, on this year’s schedule.

Jonah Williams:

Reiff has been a solid presence and Spain has performed very well, but so has Williams as the team’s left tackle. He’s held his own against some good pass-rushers, while also paving the way for Mixon. He has a 71.6 overall PFF score so far this season.

Poll

Who gets your vote for the Bengals’ 2021 midseason Offensive MVP?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Joe Burrow
    (149 votes)
  • 9%
    Joe Mixon
    (24 votes)
  • 30%
    Ja’Marr Chase
    (79 votes)
  • 0%
    C.J. Uzomah
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Jonah Williams
    (8 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
261 votes total Vote Now