BOSTON (CBS) — An incredibly confident Evan McPherson trotted onto the field in Nashville on Saturday evening and delivered the first road playoff win in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a moment authored by McPherson, obviously, but it came with an assist from the New England Patriots.
Peter King detailed that tidbit in his Monday morning column, explaining that the Bengals wanted to draft McPherson out of Florida but didn’t have enough selections in the draft to make all the picks they wanted to make. Yet when the Bengals were on the clock in the second round at No. 38 overall, they got on the phone with the Patriots, who had their eye on Christian Barmore.
The Alabama defensive tackle was the top-ranked player at his position, and he had gone unpicked for the entire first round. Bill Belichick’s knack for identifying talent for interior D-lineman inspired Belichick to make a trade. The teams swapped positions in the second round, and the Patriots gave two fourth-round picks to Cincinnati.
The Bengals used their second-round pick on an O-lineman, they took defensive ends in the third and fourth rounds, while also adding a defensive tackle and an offensive tackle in the fourth round. With the reinforcements on their lines secured, the Bengals felt comfortable using their fifth-round pick to select McPherson out of Florida.
GAME-WINNING FIELD GOAL
BENGALS ADVANCE 🐅
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 23, 2022
The pick has certainly worked out for Cincinnati. McPherson was successful on 28 of his 33 field goals and 46 of his 48 PATs during the year, and he’s now a perfect 8-for-8 on field goals and 3-for-3 on PATs in two playoff wins. That included the 52-yard game-winner to eliminate the top-seeded Titans, a kick that came after McPherson displayed a remarkable level of confidence on the sideline.
Joe Burrow says that Evan McPherson right before the game-winner on the sideline said
"Gave a little warm-up swing and he said 'it looks like we're going to the AFC Championship' right before he went out to kick it" pic.twitter.com/ffTpLIeidZ
— Ben Murphy WTSP (@BenMurphyTV) January 23, 2022
McPherson’s game-winner got the Bengals to the conference championship for the first time since 1988.