Porter, Bell Win Weekly Hard Hat Award (Game #9, vs. Jax)
Stiller LBs Joey Porter and Kendrell Bell are the co-winners of my weekly Hard Hat Award, given to the Stiller player who best embodies the iron-tough, hard-as-steel attitude of the steel workers inside the blast furnace of a still mill.
As far as my fuzzy memory can remember, never before in the history of the illustrious Hard Hat Award have two players shared the award. But the outstanding efforts and tough play on behalf of many a Stiller made this the largest group of nominations ever, and the committee -- after hours of debate and haggling -- finally decided to split the award between Porter and Bell. Hines Ward was also a very strong candidate with his gutty running and catching balls in traffic. Also, Troy Edwards and Plex Burress received a small amount of consideration, based on the pancake block that each threw to help spring big plays. Kimo von Oelhoffen wreaked a considerable amount of havoc with a rock-solid effort the entire game. And Earl Holmes, who led all players in tackles in Sunday's game, had a very strong game, marauding all over the field and continually belting Jaguar ballcarriers, including a few stuffs for losses.
Porter had a stupendous game, making numerous plays that might very well have been casually forgotten in a game that was chock full of hard hits. Early in the 2Q, Porter vaulted over the block of the lead FB, and then nailed Mack on a run up LG. The next series, the Jags foolishly tried a reverse toward Joey's side, but Joey fought off the block of guard B. Meister and jumped over the attempted trip by QB Jon Quinn, and the nailed Smith for a 3-yard loss. Porter also had a good tackle of Smith in the open field late in the 2Q, and he spent a good part of the day harassing Quinn. Finally, Porter had the key sack-and-strip of Quinn at the Stiller 18, late in the 4th qtr. of a 6-point game, which essentially sealed the win for the Stillers. Bell didn't quite have the all-around game that Porter had, but Bell made the kind of plays that were the very essence of what the Hard Hat Award is all about. Early in the 3Q, with Jax on the Stiller 20 during a very promising drive, QB Jon Quinn faded back to pass. Bell came up the gut on a delayed rush, and literally steamrolled Jaguar center Jeff Smith onto his ass. Not content with that awesome display of power and might, Bell then vaulted himself at Quinn and blasted into the QB, jarring the ball loose for a key turnover. This was a highlight-reel play and one of the very best, most ferocious sacks of ANY Stiller I've seen in the past 10 years. On the next series, Bell came flying thru the RG area, and blistered Quinn on a sack with the force of a runaway freight train. The textbook tackling technique employed by Bell -- as seen on this sack and numerous times this season -- should be shown to every high school player in the country. Both of these men should be lauded for their hard-nosed, tough-as-steel efforts in this win over the hated Faguars.
Kudos to Joey and Kendrell for winning the weekly Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, men !!
(a scene that occurred all too often on Sunday...Bell and Porter all over the ball.)
Week 8, @ Clev: Jerome Bettis
Week 7, vs. Balt: Oliver Ross
Week 6 vs. Tenn: Kendrell Bell
Week 5, @ Tampa: Joey Porter
Week 4, @ KC: Kendrell Bell
Week 3, vs. Cinci: Aaron Smith
Week 2, @ Buff: Hines Ward
Week 1, @ Jax: Joey Porter