Hard Hat Award (Div. Playoffs, vs. SD)
Stillers RB Willie Parker and DE Brett Keisel are the co-winners of the 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.
Parker had been slowed down as of late, but he erupted like a thunderstorm against the Chargers, gashing them for 146 yards on 27 carries and 2 TDs. Parker gained a ton of yardage between the tackles, rumbling ruthlessly and taking tacklers head-on at every opportunity. Gaining the tough yards on the ground is rarely easy in the playoffs, but Parker almost made it look easy with a superb, tough, iron-willed effort.
Keisel had been awfully quiet, but made noise at the time of year when every player must step up in the intensity department. He sliced in and stopped Sproles for a big 5-yard loss late in the 2Q. In the 3Q, he literally made the lone defensive play of that quarter, reading the QB and batting the pass, which was then INT�d. In the 4Q, he swam past a blocker and then nailed Rivers for a loss. Just for good measure, The Deisel also nailed Sproles twice in the 1H for a short loss, plus another ground play that gained zero.
Others receiving consideration by The Committee were LeMarr Woodley, who played stoutly and also body slammed Buzz Lightyear with a ferocious sack in the 2H; center Justin Hartwig, who had a very consistent, solid game; LB Larry Timmons, who had a stop of Sproles on KO cover as well as an electric chasedown of the speedy back in the 4Q, thus keeping the clock running; and RB Gary Russell, who did some hardnosed plowing in short yardage situations, plus a recovered onsides KO. It bears repeating that there is almost always -- if not always -- a strong correlation between the number of players in consideration for the Hard Hat, and if the team won or lost. Simply put, Hard Hat kind of football leads to victory; pansy football (a term used here long before Troy Pola popularized it) leads to defeat.
Kudos to Parker and Keisel for winning the Hard Hat Award. Wear the Hard Hat proudly, fellas!
Previous 2008 Hard Hat Winners:
Week 1, vs.
Week 2, @ Clev: Keyaron Fox and Jamie Harrison
Week 3, @ Phil:
Week 4, vs. Balt: Jamie Harrison and LeMarr Woodley
Week 5, @ Jax: Ben Roethlisberger
Week 6, @ Cinci: Mewelde Moore
Week 7, vs. NY Giants: Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel
Week 8, @ Skins: Byron Leftwich and Jared Retkofsky
Week 9, vs. Colts: Jamie Harrison
Week 10, vs. Chargers: Jamie Harrison and Gary Russell
Week 11, vs. Bengals: Aaron Smith
Week 12, @ NE Pats: Jamie Harrison
Week 13, vs.
Week 14, @ Ravens: Hines Ward
Week 15, @ Titans: No one
Week 16, vs. Clev: Gary Russell