Hardest Working Man  

 

Who went above and beyond the call of duty in Week 13?

  • 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 13.

Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings

While the Vikings became the fourth consecutive team to succumb to the vaunted Tebow Time, the efforts of Allen are certainly noteworthy. Allen -- as he has been all year on this lost Vikings season -- was a one-man wrecking crew, collecting an NFL-record-tying fourth career safety, stopping Willis McGahee in the end zone on the Broncos' first offensive play of the game. Later, Allen, never short on effort, got a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery all on the same play.


Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

Gronkowski's season for the ages continued against the winless Colts. Gronkowski had two touchdown receptions as well as a third score that was ruled a lateral -- despite appearing like a pass -- in the Patriots' 31-24 win. Gronkowski's two touchdown catches gave him 13 on the season, which ties him with Vernon Davis (2009) and Antonio Gates (2004) for the most receiving touchdowns in a season by a tight end. However, that score that was ruled a rushing touchdown gave Gronkowski 14 total, the most all-time by a tight end. How many tight ends can you think of who have had a rushing touchdown?


Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs

Entering Sunday, Houston -- a rookie who has made six starts for Kansas City this season -- had yet to record a sack. Against the Bears, Houston filled out a box score just fine, collecting three sacks of Bears QB Caleb Hanie, registering seven tackles and forcing a fumble on one of those sacks. Houston's three sacks helped the Chiefs record seven as a team, and the pressure put on Hanie forced the quarterback into three interceptions.


Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Newton's campaign for Rookie of the Year honors got a boost in the Panthers' 38-19 rout of the host Buccaneers. Newton ran for three touchdowns, giving the quarterback 13 such touchdowns on the season, and a new single-season record for a quarterback (breaking the long-held mark of former New England Patriots QB Steve Grogan, who set his record in 1976). For good measure, Newton also had a 27-yard reception on a razzle-dazzle play that had Legedu Naanee throwing the pass.


Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

A wet, slick field in Cleveland necessitated the Ravens to establish their ground game, which Rice was able to accomplish in grand fashion. Rice rushed for a career-high 204 yards, busted the game open with a 67-yard jaunt through the Browns' defense, and scored on a 6-yard touchdown run as the Ravens earned a 24-10 victory and kept pace with the Patriots, Steelers and Texans for the best record in the AFC (now 9-3).

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