The Bengals only managed one touchdown in Saturday’s game in Tennessee, but that proved to be enough to get the job done.
Rookie kicker Evan McPherson had a lot to do with that. The fifth-round pick made all four field goals he tried during the 19-16 win, including the 52-yarder at the whistle that gave the Bengals the victory. He also made four field goals in the Wild Card round win over the Raiders and he’s hearing plenty of praise for his work in helping the Bengals get to this point.
Head coach Zac Taylor said McPherson has “ice water in his veins” and quarterback Joe Burrow said the team has the same confidence in McPherson that McPherson has in himself.
“That guy is unbelievable,” Burrow said, via the team’s website. “He was talking to Brandon [Allen] as he was going out to kick, and he gave a little warmup swing and he said, ‘Ah, it looks like we’re going to the AFC Championship,’ right before he went out there and kicked it. We knew exactly what we had as soon as he walked into the building in camp and we just saw how he carried himself. You know exactly how a kicker is going to perform when obviously everyone at this level can kick through the uprights, but it’s how you handle yourself in the locker room that shows us that you have the confidence to go out there and make a kick like this and perform the way he did in a game like this. We knew exactly what kind of guy we had in camp.”
The Bengals didn’t leave themselves much margin for error on Saturday and McPherson ensured that they wouldn’t need it.