The Cincinnati Bengals completed their sweep of the NFC West with their victory over the San Francisco 49ers, 31-17. It was an excellent display of complementary football, with the offense scoring 31 points and the defense bailing out the offense occasionally.
While the score was not close at the final whistle, it was a seven-point game in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati pulled away in the end, but there were still some issues that needed to be handled. These are illustrated by five disappointing statistics from the Week 8 victory over San Francisco. Some of them you have become accustomed to seeing in this column.
50% on field goal attempts
The kickers from both teams were having issues with the wind in warmups before the game.
Those issues carried over into the game for Evan McPherson’s first field goal attempt.
A 50-yard field goal should not be considered automatic. The strong winds make a successful attempt from that distance a more daunting assignment.
However, McPherson has not been what some have come to expect after a superb rookie season. Through seven games this year, he is tied for 26th in field goal percentage at 78.6%.
Nevertheless, some of the angst around McPherson on the Twitter X machine is premature. He is an excellent kicker and has only missed three field goals this season. Each of those was from 50 or more yards.
McPherson bounced back nicely, booming a 57-yard field goal in the third quarter, increasing the team’s lead to 17-10. This highlights his inconsistency from beyond 50 yards this season, making four of seven. However, it also reinforces what we know he can do in clutch situations, even after missing a field goal earlier in the game.
The third-year kicker has spoiled us with his 87.5 field goal percentage from 50+ in his first two seasons. After going five for five last year, we expect him to convert all those opportunities. So, while it is disappointing that he missed a 50-yard attempt early in the game, any fan calling for him to no longer be on the team on social media is overstating any problems at the kicker position.