By all accounts (especially the whole missed field goals thing), Bengals place kicker Mike Nugent is having an awful year.
Yet, it didn't start that way. Nugent opened the season converting five consecutive field goals against the Baltimore Ravens, all in the first half. Thanks to Nugent, who crushed two with a distance of well-over 40 yards, the Bengals had a 15-0 halftime lead during the regular season opener with an eventual 23-16 win.
Since then, it's all gone down hill.
Nugent had a field goal blocked in the second half against Baltimore and then missed three of four (38, 49 and 55 yard kicks) against the Atlanta Falcons. Granted, the conditions were windy and hardly favorable for a kicker with a career 82.8 percent conversion rate.
After converting his only attempt against Tennessee, Nugent missed another against the New England Patriots -- which was the result of wind beating down the football on a 52-yard attempt (per da coach), before converting a 23-yarder in the second quarter. NOTE: The NFL Game Book had 2 MPH winds at kickoff.
Since the blocked kick against the Ravens, Nugent has converted only three of seven, with the longest conversion at 31 yards. When asked during Monday's presser if the team is looking at other kickers, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis relayed he isn't worried.
Marvin says he has no qualms with Mike Nugent. The 52-yard miss got knocked down by wind, he contends. Lewis thought he kicked fine.— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) October 6, 2014
Nugent is eight for 13 on the season, already surpassing the total number of misses in 2013 (four), 2012 (four) and matching the five missed kicks in 2011 -- on 38 attempts, mind you. Nugent has only converted two of six kicks with a distance of 40 yards or longer.
We'll give him the benefit of the doubt though. Right? The wind... you can't predict it. And an experienced kicker in his 11th season in the NFL, after being selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL draft, can't anticipate nor adjust to these winds. There are just too many variables.