DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 20: Tight end Alex Smith #81 celebrates with kicker Mike Nugent #2 after Nugent kicked the game winning field goal during the final seconds of the second half against the Detroit Lions(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber kick opponents when they're down

a a a a
Share this story

CINCINNATI  — Mike Nugent will be on a field somewhere, staying sharp with an offseason workout. He'll line up and imagine himself in the middle of a kicker's most pressure-filled moment.

The clock is nearly down to zero. The crowd is standing and screaming. Players on both sides avert their eyes as a game full of big plays and tense moments comes down to the kicker's final swing of the foot.

Try to imagine how that is going to feel.

"I do it in the offseason when I'm just out by myself," Nugent said. "If you can try to put as much pressure on yourself as you can when you're practicing, put yourself in the situation, maybe that adds up and makes it easier when it actually happens."

Two weeks in a row, he's come through for real.

Nugent's field goals in the final seconds gave the Bengals wins at Buffalo and Detroit, vaulting Cincinnati (5-2) into a two-game lead in the AFC North. The Bengals host the New York Jets (4-3) on Sunday.

The Bengals' kickers have played a big role during a current three-game winning streak.

Punter Kevin Huber pinned the Patriots with a 57-yard punt into a downpour, and the Bengals held on for a 13-6 win at Paul Brown Stadium. Huber pinned the Bills in overtime, and Nugent finished them off with a 43-yard field goal for a 27-24 win.

Last Sunday in Detroit, Huber pinned the Lions late in the game, giving Cincinnati good field position when it got the ball back one last time. Huber was good from 54 yards on the final play for another 27-24 win.

"We keep it interesting, don't we?" receiver Marvin Jones said.

Nugent's 54-yard kick tied Doug Pelfrey's club record for longest game-winner. He's the first kicker since Pelfrey in 1994 to end back-to-back games with a winning field goal.

Ending a game on such a long kick meant something special.

"I think it is kind of nice," Nugent said. "It was a lot of fun just coming off the field knowing we got a win, especially being an away game."

Nugent spent his first four seasons with the Jets, the last four with the Bengals. He has seven game-winning kicks in the closing minutes of regulation or overtime, though the one at Detroit on Sunday was his first from longer than 50 yards.

Those kicks don't come around very often. Nugent had one in overtime at Ohio State and a game-ending 54-yard kick against Marshall his senior season.

In each of the last two games, Nugent got a chance to win it after wasting a chance to pad the lead. He missed a 34-yard field goal try in Buffalo and a 47-yarder in Detroit, but came through at the end.

"I sit there thinking if I'd made that earlier kick, how different would the game be at the end of the day," said Nugent, who is 10 for 13 overall this season. "You think about that after the game but not so much during because if you make a big deal of that during the game, it's going to drive you crazy and maybe not get the better result."

Nugent got those two chances to win a game because Huber pinned opponents deep in their own territory and the defense quickly forced a punt that gave the Bengals good field position. Both kickers have come through when needed most.

"We knew they would be huge, and Kevin has had a really good year," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We're asking Kevin to do special things with the ball, and he's delivering. That's great. Every time you see the returner catch a ball on the boundary and step out of bounds, Kevin's done his job again."

NOTES: Nugent had three game-winning kicks for the Jets in the closing minutes — from 38, 43 and 30 yards. He had two others for the Bengals, both in 2011, from 43 and 26 yards. ... The Jets lead the series 17-7, including a pair of wins in the playoffs. New York has four straight against Cincinnati and nine of its last 10 overall.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Bengals News
Chad Johnson hopes to make comeback in Canada
Chad Johnson hopes to make comeback in Canada

Former Bengals star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Bengals, Ham. Co. make deal in effort to lure GE
Bengals, Ham. Co. make deal in effort to lure GE

Bengals officials and Hamilton County administrators have come together on an agreement that paves the way for General Electric Co. and as…

Bengals sign 2013 3rd-rounder to bolster D-line
Bengals sign 2013 3rd-rounder to bolster D-line

Marvin Lewis hopes a change of scenery is all Sam Montgomery needs to maximize the potential that made him a third-round draft pick in 2013.

Judge finds Artrell Hawkins not guilty
Judge finds Artrell Hawkins not guilty

A Hamilton County Municipal Court judge has found former Bengals defensive back and NFL commentator  Artrell Hawkins  not guilty…

Marvin Lewis adds son to Bengals coaching staff
Marvin Lewis adds son to Bengals coaching staff

Marcus Lewis is the team's defensive assistant and quality control coach.

Bengals sign former Texans S Danieal Manning
Bengals sign former Texans S Danieal Manning

The Bengals signed former Houston Texans safety Danieal Manning, a ninth-year NFL player for 2014, the club announced Thursday.

Bengals fullback Charles arrested in Kentucky
Bengals fullback Charles arrested in Kentucky

Police in central Kentucky have charged Cincinnati Bengals fullback Orson Charles with wanton endangerment after a road rage incident Monday.

Bengals extend Peko's contract by 2 years
Bengals extend Peko's contract by 2 years

During a spring of change, the Bengals decided to lock in one of its defensive stalwarts for another two years.

NFL may expand playoffs, curtail taunting
NFL may expand playoffs, curtail taunting

The NFL discussed expanding the playoffs, expressed a determination to curtail taunting and set up an experiment to lengthen extra-point…

Bengals sign Jason Campbell to push Andy Dalton
Bengals sign Jason Campbell to push Andy Dalton

The organization announced Thursday that they had signed a one-year deal with QB Jason Campbell, a former first-round draft pick out of…