Like his rough start in 2014, the once very-accurate Mike Nugent is having another less-than-stellar performance to open the 2015 season.
In 2014, Nugent started the year going 5/6 in Week 1, 1/4 in Week 2, 1/2 in Week 4 and in Week 5, just about every Bengals fan was hopping on the fire Nugent bandwagon when he missed a 36-yard field goal that caused the Bengals to tie the Panthers in a high scoring 37-37 affair. It was ugly, so ugly that it was the highest scoring tie game in NFL history. As the Bengals walked into the locker room, cornerback Adam Jones was heard shouting, "we work too hard to miss %#*$ like that." Nugent was part of his audience, standing feet away. What many fans were thinking, Jones continued to say out loud, as reporters heard him screaming, "Everybody gets paid to do a job. So do your job."
Following the tie game, Nugent came back to finish out the season strong. His next missed field goal didn't come until Week 17 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, an unforgiving place for kickers, as we saw last Thursday when Josh Scobee missed two field goals, each of which could have won the game for the Steelers.
Through four weeks this season, Nugent has had a blocked extra point against the Raiders, missed a 36-yarder against the Chargers and on Sunday versus the Chiefs, Nugent missed a 44-yard attempt. He's now 3-for-5 this season with each miss coming from less than 45 yards away.
After his Week 1 miss, Nugent criticized the NFL for changing the extra point rules. "There's only one reason they moved it back -- they want us to miss more," he said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Whoever came up with the rule got what they wanted."
Now, after another game where Bengals fans are questioning the 11-year NFL veteran, Nugent is speaking out again. "Two hits I wish I could have back," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "They were just bad hits. My only two bad ones of the year so far with all those extra points. Sometimes the important ones aren't really going through."
With the amount of scoring the Bengals have done, Nugent has kicked quite a few extra points through four games, 14 extra points to be exact.
Per the Enquirer, he blamed the miss against the Chiefs on kicking too high:
Nugent said he hit too high on Sunday’s kick causing an ugly double-breaker immediately off his foot.
Marvin Lewis chimed in on Nugent's misses this season, too, saying via the Enquirer, "Mike’s missed two for us which we can’t have. 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."
The good thing is, unlike last year against the Panthers, none of Nugent's missed kicks this season have caused the Bengals any real misfortune.
"My thing I was kind of thinking about in what can I take from this game is I didn’t have a bad kick that contributed to a loss," Nugent told the Enquirer. "The fact we still won, when you have a bad day but contribute to a loss that’s when it eats you up. When you realize everyone else did such a great job but there are going to be times maybe I’m the one who scores 21 points like he did yesterday. So, you have to learn from it and realize it didn't cost the game."
Nugent ended things saying, "You're only as good as your next kick." Hopefully, he'll be showing the Bengals just that and like he did in 2014, will continue improving as the season goes on.