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Mike Nugent’s top 5 kicks with the Bengals

Despite his recent struggles, Mike Nugent was one of the Bengals’ best kickers of all time. Even if his career ended on a sour note.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Mike Nugent’s fallout with the Cincinnati Bengals was unfortunate. He scored an astounding 718 points in his six years, a mark only surpassed by Jim Breech (1,151) and Shayne Graham (789) throughout Bengals’ history. Unfortunately, for at least a little while, he will likely be remembered for his missed field goals and missed extra points in the 2016 NFL season, which drove the Bengals to cut ties with Nugent on Tuesday.

This season alone, his 79.3 percent conversion rate ranked second worst among all kickers with as many attempts as him. But, his accuracy has been an issue for a few years, so the Bengals didn’t have much of a choice at this point other than to part ways with their struggling kicker and bring someone else in to hold the position down for the rest of the season.

With all of the negativity surrounding Nugent’s recent struggles in Cincinnati, it’s worth remembering that there were also a lot of good times. We all remember the missed field goals against Carolina in 2014 and Washington in 2016, which led to two ties in three years. But, unfortunately, it seems many Bengals fans have forgotten about the great things he did. Here are some of the best moments from Nugent:

5) November 25, 2012 55-yard field goal vs Raiders

One of the biggest criticisms of Nugent during his tenure in Cincinnati was the fact that he didn’t have a particularly strong leg. He was accurate enough most of the time, but he only made eight of the 19 field goals he ever attempted beyond 50 yards. But, in the Bengals’ first game against Carson Palmer after being traded to the Raiders, Nugent hit the longest field goal of his career (55 yards) as time expired in the first half. It was part of a massive blowout win that helped the Bengals sneak in for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs that year.

4) September 11, 2016 47-yard go-ahead field goal vs Jets

This field goal has to be mentioned as one example of something great Nugent did in an otherwise abysmal season for him. It was Week 1 of the 2016 season and Nugent had already missed a field goal that could have been huge for the Bengals. Luckily, Jets’ kicker Nick Folk had missed a field goal earlier in the game too, so to an extent, you can brush off Nugent’s miss this one time. He got another shot on the following Bengals drive after the defense allowed Folk to set up for an easy 23 yard attempt.

But, Andy Dalton told Nugent that he would get another shot and made sure it would happen. The 47-yard attempt that ensued wasn’t exactly cake for Nugent, but he hit it with 54 seconds left in the game and it gave the Bengals the points they needed to put the Jets away and start the season on a good note.

3) October 3, 2011 43-yard game-winning field goal vs Bills

In 2011, the Bengals’ kicker position felt like one of the weaker positions on the team. Nugent had been with the team since the beginning of the 2010 season, replacing former great Shayne Graham. But, he missed most of the second half of that season with an injury. Clint Stister and Aaron Pettrey played in his place, although fairly poorly.

When Nugent came back, it was a huge relief and he confirmed how important he was with this game-winning field goal that returned the Bengals to .500 on the season. It began a five game winning streak that eventually led to the first of a currently unbroken streak of playoff appearances.

2) October 20, 2013 54-yard game-winning field goal vs Lions

Although this field goal wasn’t his longest in general, it was his longest game-winner throughout his career with the Bengals. A shanked punt from the Lions set the Bengals up in decent field position with the score tied 24-24, although the Bengals’ offense only managed to put together 15 more yards to set up a long field goal opportunity. However, Nugent wasn’t phased and nailed the 54-yarder to bring the Bengals to 5-2 on the season, in a win that would play a big role in their eventual division championship that year.

1) October 11, 2015 42-yard game-winning field goal vs Seahawks

Arguably the greatest kick of Nugent’s career came at the end of arguably the greatest comeback in Cincinnati Bengals history. After an awful start to a Week 5 matchup in 2015 that saw the Seahawks take a 24-7 lead by the end of the third quarter, the Bengals battled back in the fourth quarter to tie the game 24-24 as time expired. Nugent hit a 31 yard game-tying field goal to accomplish that feat, but it was his 42-yarder at the end of the Bengals’ second overtime drive that sealed the massive 20-point fourth quarter comeback and allowed Nugent to become immortalized as a key part of one of the greatest victories in Bengals history. The field goal doinked off the left upright and was one of the greatest moments of the entire 2015 season, bringing the Bengals to 5-0.