It is rare that a kicker can burst onto the scene as a rookie the way Evan McPherson did with the Bengals in 2021.
The fifth-round pick from Florida immediately established himself as one of the best kickers in the NFL. During the regular season, he booted game-winning kicks against the Vikings, Jaguars and Chiefs. He was crucial in the playoffs, drilling field goals as time expired against both the Titans and Chiefs to help Cincinnati reach the Super Bowl.
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McPherson’s sophomore campaign has been uneven. As he was in his first year, McPherson has been nearly automatic from beyond 50 yards, but he has been less accuarate on extra-point tries and field goals from 40 to 49 yards.
As the Bengals head into the AFC championship game with their eyes set on a second straight Super Bowl appearance, The Sporting News takes a look at the stats behind “Money” McPherson, who could be called on once again to play a major role.
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How long is Evan McPherson’s longest field goal?
Leg strength has never been a question for McPherson. He has twice set the Bengals’ team record for longest field goal made, first at 58 yards in 2021 and then at 59 yards in 2022. He has just two misses from 50 and beyond in his career.
In his rookie season, McPherson went 9 for 11 from 50-plus, finishing one 50-yard field goal shy of tying Blair Walsh’s record for most 50-plus-yard makes by a rookie. But when adding in his three 50-yarders from the playoffs, McPherson set the total-season rookie record.
McPherson has kept his impressive run of kicks from 50 yards or more going in 2022. He is a perfect 5 for 5 from that range.
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It also seems McPherson is waiting for the chance to really put his leg to the test. During the preseason, he was seen launching a 65-yard field goal that appeared to make it through by plenty.
MONEY MAC 💰
Easy 65-yarder by yours truly @McPherson_Evan pic.twitter.com/X6GFF3BPmv
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) July 30, 2022
Evan McPherson stats
McPherson experienced a drop-off in accuracy in 2022. Last year, he made 84.8 percent of his field-goal kicks and 95.8 percent of his extra point tries. This year, those numbers are down to 82.8 percent and 90.9 percent, respectively.
A year-by-year breakdown of McPherson’s kicking stats since his rookie year in 2021:
McPherson struggled most from 40 to 49 yards in 2022, connecting on 9 of 13 attempts from that range. He made all but one other field goal try from all other distances. His success rate on PATs, which are generally from 33 yards out, was the fourth-lowest among qualifying kickers.
A breakdown of his career field-goal percentages by range.
|Inside 30 yards||11||12||91.7|
There are several potential explanations for the low percentage from 40 to 49. Cincinnati’s long-time long snapper, Clark Harris, was injured in the first game of the season and ruled out for the rest of the year. That caused turmoil in Week 1, when McPherson missed an extra-point kick and a field-goal try as backup tight end Mitchell Wilcox was forced to be the team’s long snapper.
McPherson also missed an extra-point kick and a field-goal attempt in New England in poor kicking conditions, which was evidenced by Patriots kicker Nick Folk also missing both of his PAT kicks.
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What is Evan McPherson’s touchback percentage?
McPherson’s powerful leg has also been on display on kickoffs. He sent 56.7 percent of into the end zone for touchbacks in 2022.
That rate dipped from 60.4 percent in 2021, but the team has deployed a strategy in 2022 of trying to pin teams further back by not kicking everything out of the end zone and instead forcing teams to try to bring the ball out. The team ranks 11th in lowest opponent kickoff return average this season at 21.4 yards. McPherson averaged 62.3 yards per kickoff, or to about the 3-yard line.