Drew Brees valiant in defeat at legendary Lambeau

These guys might not exactly be carrying a lunchpail to the stadium each week, but they did bring a diligent, blue-collar approach to Week 4. Take a look at all the nominees, then vote in the poll at the bottom of the right column for your choice for the Hardest-Working Man.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

The Saints fell to 0-4, but it wasn't without a fight in a hotly contested showdown between two teams in desperate need of a win. Brees put up 446 yards passing, including three touchdown passes, in a 28-27 setback against the Green Bay Packers. Brees' effort in defeat can't be ignored. His 446 yards was the second-highest total of his career (he had a 510-yard performance in Week 11 of the 2006 season). More importantly, Brees threw a touchdown pass, which means Brees has thrown at least one touchdown in 47 consecutive regular-season games. That ties the Saints quarterback with Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for the all-time mark. It's amazing that Unitas' mark -- accomplished during the 1956 through 1960 seasons and once considered to be unbreakable -- has been the standard in the record books for this long.


Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have had one Hall of Fame receiver (Paul Warfield), as well as some greats such as Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, but none had a day quite like Hartline did in a 24-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in arguably the most thrilling game of Week 4. Hartline had 12 receptions for 253 yards, which set a new Dolphins record. Hartline also had an 80-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that put pressure on the Cardinals to pull off an epic win.


J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

The Texans sport the only unbeaten record in the AFC, and a big part of that success can be attributed to the team's talented defense. The unit turned what appeared to be a competitive showdown with a division rival into a 38-14 rout. Highlighted by a pair of pick sixes, the Texans defense was anchored by Watt, who wreaked havoc on the Titans offense. Watt finished the day with two sacks, and has recorded at least a sack and a half in all four games this season. Watt's 7.5 sacks -- which already tops his 5.5-sack total during his 2011 rookie season -- on the season leads the league.


Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons

The unbeaten Falcons were in the most dire of situations with a minute remaining against the Carolina Panthers. Down 28-27, the Falcons were pinned at their own 1-yard line and needing a field goal to pull off a win. Enter White, who was already having a big day, but capped the performance with the play of the game. Matt Ryan heaved a long bomb from deep inside his own end zone to White, who outmaneuvered two Panthers defenders to come up with a 59-yard catch. The Falcons worked their way into position so that Matt Bryant could win it with a 40-yard field goal in the 30-28 triumph. White finished the day with eight catches, 169 yards and two touchdowns.


Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams

Special teams led the way for a 19-13 Rams upset of the visiting Seattle Seahawks. The star of the day was a rookie kicker from a Division II school -- Missouri Western State -- nicknamed "Legatron." Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including a team record 58-yarder followed by a 60-yarder to top it. Zuerlein was also the perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day: a fake field goal that was turned into a 2-yard touchdown pass from rookie punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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