The Cincinnati Bengals finished their 2014 season with a 10-5-1 record and a fourth consecutive wild card loss, this time to the Indianapolis Colts by a 26-10 score. Here are the awards for the Bengals in 2014:
Offensive MVP: RB, Jeremy Hill
This 2nd round choice by the Bengals was exactly the fit that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was looking for to complement 2013 2nd round pick Giovani Bernard. Hill finished the season with 1,124 yards this season, five shy of the Bengals’ rookie rushing record set by Corey Dillon in 1997. On top of having the most rushing yards by a Bengal since 2009, Hill was tied for second among running back in yards per carry (5.1) and led all rookies in rushing touchdowns with nine. Hill along with Bernard led the Bengals’ rushing attack that was ranked sixth in the NFL (first time in Top 10 since ’09) and first in the AFC in rushing touchdowns (19).
The LSU star had the most rushing yards in the NFL since week nine of the regular season and had five games of 100+ yards. He looks to be involved in the Bengals’ offensive attack for years to come.
Hill is also the rookie of the year for the Bengals in 2014.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Whitworth (LT), Russell Bodine (C)
Defensive MVP: DE, Carlos Dunlap
Leading the defensive line in many categories was defensive end Carlos Dunlap in his fifth season out of Florida. Dunlap had 66 combined tackles and was the only constant pass rusher on a defense that had the lowest amount of sacks in the NFL this season. Dunlap also led the Bengals with eight sacks this season and nine tackles for a loss. His two forced fumbles was tied for the team lead with teammate—linebacker Jayson DiManche.
Honorable Mention: Vincent Rey (MLB), Dre Kirkpatrick (CB)
Special Teams MVP: KR, PR, Adam Jones
Jones developed a new aspect to his game when he evolved as one of the best returners in the NFL this season. Despite not finding the end zone, Jones led the NFL with a 31.3 yard average on kickoff returns and was tied for third in the league in punt return average with a 11.9 yards per return.
Jones had big kick returns against the Denver Broncos (80 yards) that set up a third quarter touchdown and against the Carolina Panthers (97 yards) that set up a game-tying fourth quarter touchdown.
Pacman was named to the 2014 1st-Team All Pro team for his 1,106 return yards this season.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Huber (P)
Comeback Player of the Year: LB, Emmanuel Lamur
An undrafted linebacker from Kansas State played in ten games and started just once in his rookie campaign in 2012. Lamur hoped to be part of the starting linebacker corps in 2013 but was hurt during the pre-season and was suddenly out for the season. Coming back from that injury this year, Lamur was fantastic on a defensive unit that lost James Harrison in the off-season and fellow linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga due to injuries over the course of this season.
Lamur finished the year with 91 combined tackles, good for third on the team behind Vincent Rey and Reggie Nelson. Lamur also added five tackles for a loss and intercepted Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco twice over the course of two Bengals’ wins this season.
Honorable Mention: Leon Hall (CB)
Letdown of the Year: MLB, Vontaze Burfict
After putting his John Hancock on a brand new four year/ 19 million dollar contract in August that included a 3.1 million dollar signing bonus, Burfict was injured in week two of the seaon against the Atlanta Falcons. Burfict returned a month later to have a season-high ten tackles in a tie against the Carolina Panthers and was targeted by the NFL for trying to purposely injure Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen.
The third-year linebacker would play just two more games before concussions and a knee injury effectively ended his season in late October.
After playing in all 16 games in 2012 and 2013, Burfict only played in five games this season and was only on the field for just 217 snaps this season.
Despite an outstanding football IQ, Burfict’s bad tackling form of putting his head down could have him dealing with concussions for the rest of his playing career, on top of the knee that kept him out for the last ten games of the season.
Honorable Mention: Andy Dalton (QB), Geno Atkins (DT)
Coach of the Year: Darrin Simmons (Special Teams Coordinator)
Simmons led a Bengals’ special teams unit that was ranked in the top 10 in return yards, opponent kick return yards, and opponent punt return yards.
Simmons is credited for developing young safety Shawn Williams and aforementioned linebacker Jayson DiManche, as they have led the Bengals’ for two consecutive seasons in special teams tackles.
Cover Photo: Getty Images