After starting quickly with a game-winning field goal over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, the Bengals knew exactly what they had in the fifth-rounder.
As we look forward to the rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, it is hard to imagine Cincinnati being in this spot without McPherson. Following Week 1, he has gone on to knock through three other game-winning kicks, two in the biggest moments you could think of.
When the Bengals went head-to-head with Kansas City in Week 17, McPherson was called on yet again. This time, tasked with a chip-shot field goal to secure Cincinnati it’s first AFC North Championship since 2015. Calm, confident and stone faced, McPherson trotted onto the field and brought it home.
The biggest kick of his
career life came in the Divisional round against the Tennessee Titans. After an Eli Apple tip, Logan Wilson came down with an interception in the closing second of the game. Needing about 20 yards with two timeouts, the offense delivered and put “Shooter” in prime position to deliver again.
“I guess we’re going to the AFC Championship,” McPherson told backup quarterback Brandon Allen.
Indeed, we are.
That level of confidence in a kicker is important and McPherson certainly has it. In a recent interview on the Pat McAfee Show (click for the full episode), he expanded on what prompted that statement. Not only is he that confident, but he sees it as a challenge:
Evan McPherson on @PatMcAfeeShow about his quote before the game winner in the divisional round:— Drew Garrison (@Drew_Garrison_) January 26, 2022
“I see it as a challenge. If you say something like that, you better go out there and back it up.“
As the interview continued, it became clear that McPherson isn’t happy with just being where he is. A ball sits on McAfee’s desk every day, displaying records from his friend and former teammate, Adam Vinatieri. Being aware of the moment, McPherson asks McAfee for a specific record listed on the ball:
You've seen this ball...— ️at McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 26, 2022
"I saw that record before the first game & thought that'd be a pretty cool record to break" ~@McPherson_Evan
Take it easy Vinatieri played a long time #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/yLRBXn2Y8o
The first-year man is clearly not resting on his laurels. As a fan, having a kicker you trust one hundred percent is an absolute weapon. When the Bengals get within 55 yards of the uprights, it is as close to a guaranteed three points as possible.
McPherson will again travel to an enemy environment this Sunday and if he is called on, he has the utmost confidence in himself to deliver.
We do too.