Hardest Working Man  

 

Who went above and beyond the call of duty in Week 9?

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
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These guys might not exactly be carrying a lunch pail to the stadium each week, but they did bring a blue-collar, working-man approach to the weekend's games. Take a look at all the nominees, then vote on your choice for the Hardest-Working Man for Week 9.

Brian Cushing, Houston Texans

The Texans' defense is morphing into a force during its transformation to a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Its recent play has been most impressive. In Week 9, it was Brian Cushing -- with seven total tackles and a sack -- who helped Houston hold an opponent to less than 175 total offensive yards for the third consecutive week in a 30-12 win over the Browns. The Browns accumulated just 10 first downs, and quarterback Colt McCoy was sacked four times as the Texans moved to three games over .500 for the first time in team history.


Charlie Peprah, Green Bay Packers

The Packers remained the NFL's only unbeaten team with a 45-38 win over the Chargers, thanks to three timely interceptions. Peprah -- who is a replacement for injured three-time Pro Bowler Nick Collins -- was the recepient of two of those picks. Peprah's pick six in the first quarter was impressive due to the immense effort on the 40-yard return to the end zone. The Chargers' next possession included another pick six, this one by Tramon Williams. Peprah collected the game-clinching interception in the game's final moments with the Chargers threatening to pull off an improbable rally.


Patrick Peterson, Arizona Cardinals

Peterson is showing the sort of dynamic talents that made the cornerback/special teams ace the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Peterson had a first-quarter interception of Rams QB Sam Bradford on a flea-flicker play, but it was his late-game adventure that will earn him the most accolades. A pass interference penalty on Peterson set up a game-winning field goal attempt for the Rams, but Calais Campbell managed to block Josh Brown's 42-yard attempt to force overtime. When the Cardinals forced the Rams to punt on their first possession of overtime, Peterson provided the walk-off punch with a 99-yard punt return for the winning score in a 19-13 Cardinals victory. It was just the second overtime punt return in NFL history, joining Tamarick Vanover, who returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown against the Chargers in 1995.


Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos

Tebow looked very little like a prototypical NFL quarterback, but few can criticize the results when the Broncos played to the second-year pro's strengths against the Raiders. Looking much like he did while playing for the University of Florida, Tebow -- running a run-option offense to better highlight his talents -- won for the second time in three starts. Tebow threw two touchdown passes -- the first a 32-yarder to Eric Decker and the second on a 26-yard scoring play to Eddie Royal -- and added a career-high 117 yards rushing on 12 carries to lead the Broncos to a 38-24 win in Oakland.


Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers are 7-1, enjoying their longest winning streak since 1997, and are 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1992. The play of the defense is a big reason for that success. Patrick Willis continued to head the charge Sunday, leading the team in tackles (9) and forcing two fumbles in a hard-fought 19-11 victory over the Redskins.

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