The Cincinnati Bengals have made it to their first AFC championship game since 1988 after defeating the Tennessee Titans 19-16 on Saturday.
Bengals rookie kicker Evan McPherson clinched the victory for his team after delivering a 52-yard field goal as time expired. It is also the Bengals first road playoff win in franchise history.
McPherson, an outspoken Christian, sported a Black shirt with the phrase “God is good” printed across the chest during his post-game press conference. According to Sports Spectrum, he told reporters that it was a “kickers dream” to have the opportunity to provide a game-winning field goal.
“This is my job,” McPherson said. “This is what I do for a living, so it’s my job to stay cool, calm and collected in moments like those. I’m just so happy that my team put me in a position to succeed and give me the opportunity to win the game.”
As the Bengals excelled in their defense, the team’s offense relied heavily on McPherson, who delivered 13 of the team’s 19 points. In addition to the game-winning field goal, McPherson delivered 38, 45, and 54-yard field goals.
Towards the end of the fourth quarter, the Bengals managed to get into field goal range after linebacker Logan Wilson intercepted a pass from Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, which led to a long pass play from Joe Burrow to Ja’Marr Chase and set up McPherson for the field goal.
“Pretty much all that was going through my mind is that we get one more game,” McPherson explained. “We’re guaranteed one more game. We get another chance to go out and win another game. We’re one step closer to our goal.”
He was given the game-winning ball for his performance. Before Saturday’s divisional-round playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, McPherson already had three game-winning kicks from games against the Minnesota Vikings during the season opener and the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Thursday night game.
He also delivered one to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17 and won the AFC North division title for the Bengals in what was considered the biggest kick of his career thus far.
McPherson, who grew up in a Christian home in Fort Payne, Alabama, has often made his faith public on social media. He tends to post pictures on Instagram with Scripture in the caption.
Last month, McPherson wrote “Glory to God” after he was made the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December. The Scripture captioned in his post was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which reads, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” He won AFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice this year, in weeks 1 and 11.
Last January, McPherson thanked God after being drafted by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft.
“For Him, Through Him, Because of Him!” he tweeted at the time. “‘Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.’ Proverbs 16:3 || I’m excited for the next chapter of my life! Go Gators!!”
For Him, Through Him, Because of Him! “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 || I’m excited for the next chapter of my life! Go Gators!!🐊 pic.twitter.com/sH33Z1LctS— Evan McPherson (@McPherson_Evan) January 5, 2021
According to CBS Sports, the Cincinnati Bengals are scheduled to play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday to determine which team will advance to the Super Bowl against either the Los Angeles Rams or the San Francisco 49ers.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time,” McPherson said on Saturday. “We’re going to go into this next game with a great game plan. I’m going to go through this week of practice and have my best week of practice and get ready to go into the next game with the best of my ability to help this team win.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Andy Lyons/Staff
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.