Hunt, Alex, and Battles Tie for Weekly Hard Hat Award (Game #15, vs. RedFaces)
Rich Huntley, Brent Alexander, and Ainsley Battles are the shared winners of my weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard as steel mentality of the workers inside a still mill.
I don�t like ties, but for this particular game, all three of these men were so deserving, that I thought it would be unfair to rule out 2 of �em if just 1 man received the award.
Huntley, finally allowed to tote the ball a few more times than on futile 3rd & 14 draw plays, responded with a strong effort, gaining 56 yards on only 7 carries, and 2 TDs. The second TD was a thing of beauty, as he dashed around end, and then ripped through 2 tackles en route to paydirt. This wasn�t Hunt�s only contribution. He had a couple blistering blitz pickups, including one in which Hunt literally caused FS Mark Carrier to topple head-over-heels onto his face. Hunt also had a good block on a QB draw. On special teams, Hunt was an absolute terror. On kickoff coverage, he made two solo stop, and chipped in a solo stop of Peion Sanders in punt coverage. In fact, in only about 6 ST coverage plays, Huntley alone had as many solo stops as the pro bowl reservist, Jason Gildon. Hunt also had a key block on the Poteat TD.
Brent Alex made the solo stop on the game�s first play. On the tape, you can see him get up from the pile, shaking his hand in pain. He made another solo on the very next play, but then it turned out he had broken his hand. The staff wrapped his hand with foam and tape, and Brent was out there for most of the rest of the game, and turned on another strong, heady, solid effort. Brent finished third on the team with 5 solos and 1 assist. He even recovered -- taped-up broken hand and all -- the Davis fumble in the 3rd quarter. If playing -- and playing well -- for 99% of the game with a broken hand isn�t grounds for the Hard Hat Award, then I don�t know what is.
Battles started in place of the injured Flowers, and had a strong game at strong safety. He finished with 3 solos and 2 assists -- hey, that�s exactly as many as the pro bowl reservist -- and played solidly in pass defense. What impressed me the most during my tape scrub, was his kamikaze willingness, which he has shown since preseason on spec teams, to throw his body into a pile or at a ballcarrier with no fear of injury. This is precisely the mentality you MUST have to play SS in the NFL, and Battles should be lauded for playing tough, no-fear football in what was (I think) his first NFL start.
Kudos to Hunt, Alex, and Ainsley for winning this week's Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, men!
Game #14, vs. NYG: Earl Holmes
Game #13, vs. Oak: Kordell Stewart
Game #12, vs. Cinci: Hines Ward
Game #11, vs. Jax: Earl Holmes
Game #10, vs. Phil: Jerome Bettis
Game #9, vs. Tenn: Earl Holmes
Game #8, vs. Balt.: Dan Kreider
Game #7, vs. Cleve: Chris Fu
Game #6, vs. Cinci: D. Washington and Joey Porter
Game #5, vs. NYJ: Larry Tharpe
Game #4, vs. Jax: Kimo von Oelhofen
Game #3, vs. Tenn: Shar Pourdanesh
The Still Mill