Let's be honest: Mike Nugent has faced his share of criticism.
Last year against Carolina, Nugent sailed a 36-yard attempt wide right with two seconds remaining in overtime ensuring a miserable 37-point tie against the Panthers -- Nugent converted a field goal with over two minutes remaining in regulation and another in overtime (which Carolina answered). Nugent crushed his next 15 field goal attempts that year, having his streak snapped on an unlikely 50-yard attempt at the notoriously difficult Heinz Field during the final week of the regular season.
And yet, his struggles seemed to have emerged again this season.
Nugent had a PAT blocked against Oakland, missed a 36-yard attempt against San Diego and missed another 44-yarder against the Chiefs. Simply put, his struggles are generating concern. "Mike's missed two for us which we can't have," Marvin Lewis said last week. "He's better than that and we expect better out of him than that. He needs to get back and get in a rhythm again like he did a year ago."
Did he redeem himself on Sunday?
Facing a third down with 24 seconds remaining in regulation against Seattle, Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap and scrambles to the Seahawks' 13-yard line. Unable to stop the clock (no timeouts remaining and a spike translates to a turnover on downs), Andy Dalton sprints off the field with his skill players in tow, while Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris and the rest of Cincinnati's field goal unit replace them.
Three seconds remained when Nugent punched the football through the uprights, sending the game into overtime after Cincinnati unexpectedly scored 17 unanswered points.
Cincinnati and Seattle exchanged punts during overtime, with the Seahawks punting to Cincinnati's 24-yard line (Adam Jones returned the football 19 yards to the 43-yard line) after their second failed possession. Dalton, with help from Eifert and Giovani Bernard, moved Cincinnati to Seattle's 24-yard line with 3:42 remaining in overtime.
Mike Nugent jogged onto the field and...
Despite a heart-stopping moment when the football ricocheted off the left upright, Nugent's field goal gave Cincinnati a 27-24 overtime win.
Whether or not you want to call Sunday's win a redemptive moment for Nugent is within yourself (not us). Either way, his effort helped Cincinnati secure a win when it appeared a loss was inevitable.