Tuesday, December 27, 2011
AFC North Game Balls
By Jamison Hensley
We're handing out game balls after Week 16 and here is who's getting them:
OFFENSE: Jerome Simpson, Bengals. The AFC North blog will give Simpson the game ball after giving him another standing ovation. The Cincinnati wide receiver made the highlight of the season when he flipped over a Cardinals linebacker and landed in the end zone on his feet. The Bengals needed this touchdown in the end when they held off Arizona for a 23-16 win.
DEFENSE: Steelers defense. Just like in Week 2, everyone on Pittsburgh's defense deserves a game ball for recording a shutout against the Rams. Sure, it came against the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL. But let's not forget that it was the NFL's top-ranked defense that delivered the shutout. Pittsburgh is now giving up 14.5 points per game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Shayne Graham, Ravens. This was a close call over the Browns' Josh Cribbs, who returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown -- the longest punt return of his great special-teams career. But the Ravens beat the Browns by two field goals, both of which came from a replacement kicker. Graham, who was filling in for Billy Cundiff, hit kicks from 48 and 43 yards. His kicking allowed Baltimore to stay on course for the AFC North title and a first-round bye in the playoffs.