When you don’t do your job well in the NFL, typically, you get benched, if not cut.
Mike Nugent continues to be one of the NFL’s worst kickers, and his latest performance actually made some NFL history.
The @Bengals Mike Nugent has missed 3 consecutive extra points (1 today, 2 last week). The longest streak since at least 1991. #CINvsBAL— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) November 27, 2016
Nugent has missed an extra point three straight times, and he’s missed a PAT in three of his last four games. Unsurprisingly, the Bengals lost or tied in all three games as they’ve floundered to a 3-7-1 record.
On Sunday, Nugent admitted to ESPN that he knows his failures are costing the Bengals dearly, even if the Bengals themselves don’t seem to care.
“My teammates and coaches have been great. They’ve been very supportive,” Nugent said. “They know that kicking is a very important part of this game, and you’re not going to win games if the kicker is not making the ones they’re supposed to make. And I’m just not doing that right now.”
Sure, Nugent can’t be blamed for all of the Bengals’ woes, but it’s safe to think that just having an above average kicker would be enough to have one or two more wins at this point in the season. Just one more point here and there could have been the difference in several games, but instead, Nugent failed to execute one of the game’s most simple of plays.
“It’s very tough when you see how hard your teammates work to get the ball down the field, and they only get six points instead of seven,” Nugent said. “It’s just very frustrating not being able to connect when everyone is working so hard to get the ball down the field.”
Instead of finding a better option at kicker, the Bengals settle with what they have, so it’s only fair that their bad record is reflective of their bad kicker. The good news is all of the bad kicks Nugent has been making allow him more chances to learn from his mistakes...at 34-years-old with 12 seasons under his belt.
“I’ve got to be able to connect when the time comes,” Nugent said. “You just have to be able to study and learn from mistakes. Unfortunately, I have a lot of mistakes I can use as examples the last few weeks. I’ve just got to do whatever it takes to help the team out, and I’m just not doing that right now.”
It almost feels like the Bengals are purposefully tanking to get a better draft pick by keeping Nugent. But they’re not. The issue is, there’s really no other explanation for keeping a 34-year-old kicker who clearly needs to retire and is hurting the team in continual close losses. In the Bengals' last three games, all of which were losses, the team lost by 1, 4 and 5 points. That's a total of 10 combined points in 3 weeks. That’s how close the last three games have been, and the game prior to that was a tie. Enough said, right?
Maybe Nugent will end up being a hero if his continued struggles
help get rid of Marvin Lewis help Cincinnati land a game-changing prospect that has them back in contention next year.
Maybe Nugent is the hero we all need but don’t deserve. One thing is for sure: Bengals fans don’t deserve this kind of decision-making from their ‘professional’ team.
And by the way, the Lewis confirmed the Bengals won’t be cutting Nugent following his missed PAT on Sunday.
Marvin Lewis asked if the #Bengals will bring in any kickers this week to challenge Nugent: "No. We are not." Nugent stays.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) November 28, 2016