Evan McPherson irate, confused in reaction to field goal Bengals kicker thought he missed

The Bengals made a crucial decision with 2:33 left in regulation of their “Monday Night Football” game against the Jaguars. They let Evan McPherson attempt a 54-yard field goal to break a 28-all tie.

The decision was a sensible one. Jake Browning had just completed a pass to Tyler Boyd to put Cincinnati on Jacksonville’s 36-yard line. Punting from there wouldn’t do the team any good, so attempting a long field goal was the best option.

McPherson had the leg to make the kick. He had missed one earlier from slightly farther away (58 yards) in the same direction; the kick glanced off the crossbar, but that gave Zac Taylor confidence late that McPherson would deliver.

And so he did. He drilled the 54-yard attempt to give the Bengals a late 31-28 lead.

But there was no celebration on the play from McPherson. Why? Because he thought he had missed the kick, as shown by the ESPN broadcast.

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Instead, he clapped his hands hard and yelled something at himself before showing off a confused shrug as the kick sailed through the uprights.

Funnily enough, this wasn’t the first time that McPherson was fooled by his late-game kicks. During his rookie season in 2021, he thought that he had hit a game-winning field goal against the Packers in overtime. As he was celebrating his kick, it went wide left.

When asked about that miss in 2021, he said he “struck it really well” and thought it would go “right down the middle.” So, why did it miss?

“I couldn’t really tell you,” McPherson told reporters. “Maybe it hit a big gust of wind at the last second.”

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Perhaps that’s what happened on Monday. McPherson may have gotten a light, unnoticeable breeze to help him out. Or maybe he just struck the ball better than he thought. Or maybe he just needs to get his eyes checked to make sure his depth perception is hunky-dory.

Either way, his kick set up the Bengals to beat the Jaguars in regulation before CJ Beathard mounted a game-tying drive on his final possession of the half.

But that was no matter. The Bengals were still able to dispatch the Jaguars in overtime thanks to another nice, 48-yard kick from McPherson.

There was no doubt from McPherson that one would be good. That helped the Bengals improve to 6-6 and earn quarterback Jake Browning his first win.

And while Browning was the star of the night, Taylor noted that McPherson handled himself well on a night where he was required to hit a couple of long field goals to seal the win.

“That’s a lot of pressure right there,” Taylor said when asked about McPherson’s game-winning field goal “I thought he kicked the ball really well. He hit them when we needed them.”

MORE: Breaking down Jake Browning’s stats from his first career win as starter

Evan McPherson’s longest field goals

Some may have been wondering about McPherson’s overall range after he hit the crossbar from 58 yards, but that kick is within his range. His longest career field goal came from 59 yards in his second season. That set the Bengals franchise record for longest kick, a mark that he previously set with a 58-yard make in his rookie season.

In each of his three seasons, McPherson has hit a field goal from at least 56 yards. Incredibly, he has hit 21 of 28 field goals (75 percent) from 50-plus yards out. That includes a perfect 5-for-5 mark in 2022.

McPherson is tied for the NFL lead in 50-plus-yard field goals in 2023 with Matt Prater, Dustin Hopkins and Matt Gay. Each has seven this season.

Considering that McPherson is just 24 years old, it seems like he will be a viable long-distance option for years to come; and perhaps he can someday rival Prater’s record for 50-plus-yard makes, which stands at 78 after 13 weeks of the 2023 NFL season.


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