Cincinnati Bengals kicker, Mike Nugent had an emotional week after the sudden passing of his father on Monday Night. The team excused his absence from practice this week and listed him as probable on Friday afternoon. Despite "missing" sessions throughout the week, Nugent worked on his kicks one night last week. Per the mothership, the team flicked on the lights at Paul Brown Stadium and allowed Nugent to kick the football while his brother helped and their wives watched.
"I didn't want to go a week without kicking," Nugent said via Bengals.com. "The kicker has to be the closer."
It's just another example, in a series of examples, of how much this team exemplifies family.
"You get closer; guys understand that with anybody that’s been through losing a loved one," said head coach Marvin Lewis. "We all had to put our arms around each other and come out here. We knew how important it was and how much our loved ones that we lost would want this game to be for them. I think that meant the most to everybody."
Nugent converted all three field goal attempts in Cleveland, from 44 yards (taking a 10-0 lead in the first quarter), another 44-yarder (to take a 20-0 lead early in the third) and 34 yards (23-0 late in the third). Those conversions continued a streak of 11 consecutive makes since his chip-shot miss against the Carolina Panthers that ensured a 37-37 tie.
"That’s the kind of guy you want on your football team," said Marvin Lewis. "He came here today and he just handled it very well.
Lewis told reporters following Cincinnati's 30-0 over the Browns, that offensive coordinator Hue Jackson also lost his father this week.
Jackson, who left for Los Angeles immediately after Sunday's game, constructed a game-plan that highlighted a heavy dose of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Both players combined for 40 carries for 227 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Hill, who started, was viewed as the "primary", as opposed to the one-two combination that Cincinnati tried applying this season. The rookie running back posted 148 yards rushing on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Rex Burkhead added 14 yards (and a touchdown) and Cincinnati's rushing offense combined for 244 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns.
Lewis awarded Nugent and Jackson the game balls.
Game balls to Hue and Nugent.. Both lost dads this week— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) December 14, 2014