Nugent record-breaker bright spot for Bengals

Mike Nugent (left) connected on a 57-yard field goal Sunday.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — During pregame warm-ups at Lucas Oil Stadium, Mike Nugent tried a field goal from 59 yards and pulled it badly. The Bengals kicker avoided doing that during the second quarter of Sunday’s AFC wild-card round game against the Colts.

After recovering a Dan Herron fumble at the Bengals 41 late in the first half, the Bengals got to the Colts 39 before the drive stalled. Out came Nugent, who made a 57-yarder to bring the Bengals within 13-10 going into halftime. That would be the last points the Bengals would score though as they went on to lose 26-10.

With it being fourth-and-5 and with eight seconds left in the half, Nugent was ready to go and figured that the coaches would try the field goal based on the time and that it was in his range. Nugent though did need some help from the left upright as it hit off that and deflected in.

The field goal is the second longest in NFL postseason history with only Pete Stoyanovich making one from 58 for Miami in a 1990 AFC wild-card game against Kansas City. Had this been a regular-season game, it would go down as a franchise record, surpassing the 55-yarders that Nugent and Chris Bahr made.

Said Nugent of the kick: "I just kept thinking to myself I had to keep my head down. The longer I keep my head down the better ball I hit and I think that kind of saved it on that last inch before it went through."

When Nugent made the kick, everyone figured that it would give the Bengals some momentum. Down three they got the ball to begin the second half but went three-and-out and didn’t get a first down on their first four drives as Indianapolis extended its lead.

"It is disappointing. I hate to compare it but it is kind of like missing a field goal you feel like you should have hit. Ever since that Denver game we realized what kind of team we could be," Nugent said of the loss.

Since missing a 36-yarder on the final play of overtime against Carolina in Week 6, Nugent made 16 of his last 17 with the only miss being from 50 last Sunday at Pittsburgh. Off the field it was a tough season for the former Ohio State standout, who lost his father Daniel, 66, to a heart attack on Dec. 8.

"I think like any kind of failure it is an opportunity in disguise. You might hit a few in a row and it is not going to automatically go in. I still have to do my part. I learned from it and moved on," said Nugent about bouncing back after the miss against the Panthers.

Follow on Twitter joereedy