Evan McPherson is Kicking All of Adam Vinatieri’s NFL Playoffs Records to the Curb

The Cincinnati Bengals obviously saw something in Evan McPherson.

The only kicker taken in the 2021 NFL Draft, McPherson wasn’t some Mr. Irrelevant choice at the end of the proceedings. The Bengals selected the University of Florida prospect in the fifth round.

Whatever it was that the Bengals saw, they have been rewarded in every way possible.

The Bengals are taking on the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 56 on Sunday, and while Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase are the faces of the franchise, McPherson is the foot that got them there.

In both the NFL Playoffs Divisional Round and AFC Championship Game, it was the rookie kicker who sent walk-off field goals through the uprights to complete the upsets in both games.

And in the process, McPherson has placed himself on the precipice of unseating the greatest postseason kicker of all time from the record books.

McPherson’s epic season keeps rolling as Bengals prepare for Super Bowl 56

It’s almost hard to believe now, but McPherson’s rookie season got off to a rocky start. He missed three field goals over his first five games, and was part of an epic miss-a-thon with Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby, with the two kickers combined to miss five field-goal attempts before Crosby finally hit one in overtime for the win.

McPherson missed at the end of regulation and in overtime. But quarterback Joe Burrow said the young kicker never wavered.

“Obviously kickers aren’t usually drafted that high, but I figured if we’re drafting a kicker, he’s going to be really good for us,” Burrow told the media last week. “Then I met Evan and you kind of know how a kicker is going to perform based on how he reacts and interacts with people in the locker room. All the kickers can kick it and put it through the uprights, but it’s really how you handle the intense situations that’s going to really make or break your reputation as a kicker.”

Since that Week 5 debacle, McPherson’s reputation has only grown, into extraordinary heights. McPherson has made 35-of-37 kicks since Week 5. And in the postseason, he has turned it on like all but one kicker in NFL history. And even that legend is in trouble.

McPherson made it three playoff games in a row with four FG in the AFC Championship Game

In the NFL Super Wild Card Round against the Las Vegas Raiders, McPherson hit all four of his field-goal attempts in a 26-19 victory. In the Divisional Round against the top-seeded Tennessee Titans, the rookie made all four of his attempts again, including a 52-yard field goal with no time left for a 19-16 victory.

Then in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City against the Chiefs, McPherson went 4-for-4 for the third postseason game in a row, including a 31-yarder in overtime to send the Bengals to the Super Bowl.

With 12 field goals (on 12 attempts) McPherson needs three in the Super Bowl to break Adam Vinatieri’s 2006 record of 14 field goals in one postseason. If McPherson kicks four field goals, he also breaks Vinatieri’s career record for postseason games with four field goals.

Vinatieri kicked for 24 years. McPherson is a rookie.

McPherson already owns the all-time record for field goals of at least 50 yards in one regular season and playoffs combined with 12. But if he makes three from 50 yards in the Super Bowl to give him six in the postseason, another Vinatieri record falls.

Vinatieri loves what McPherson is doing, even if his records are falling away

McPherson might overtake Vinatieri in the record books, but the former New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts kicker is still the gold standard by which all kickers are measured. So it was perhaps the biggest tribute of all this week when Vinatieri sang the praises of the Bengals rookie.

“He’s the real deal,” Vinatieri said on the Pat McAfee Show this week. “Physically gifted, I mean, he’s got a cannon of a leg, but mentally he’s really, really tuned in, too. Anybody can miss a kick, but this guy seems like he walks out there, nothing bothers him, he’s just super focused, he just puts them right down the middle of the pipe, doesn’t matter what the distance or what the situation in the game is.

“What, 12-for-12 on kicks in the playoffs? Damn, that’s super impressive no matter if it’s your 15th year in the league, but doing that as a rookie? That’s awesome. The best ones have a chip on their shoulder. I like that about him. I think he’s going to be super good for a long time.”

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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