BENGALS GAMEDAY: Photos, analysis, video highlights, stats, quotes* * *
Posted: 11:55 p.m.
BALTIMORE - For Shayne Graham, it's a long way from that missed 39-yard field goal in the final eight seconds of last season that cost the Bengals the playoffs.
A string of 19 quiet consecutive field goals, to be exact, dating back to when he started all over again: Opening Day. He came up short from 53 yards to start the season and hasn't missed since.
As well as breaking the Bengals six-game road losing streak Sunday, Graham broke the Bengals club record with one of those rare seven-field goal games and his own Bengals record of 17 straight to give Cincinnati a 21-7 victory that left the Ravens in a Purple Haze. Graham didn't need to go as far as 39 Sunday. His longest were two from 35. The Bengals touchdown percentage in the red zone took a beating at 0-for-7.
"It's good when you win, not so good when you lose," said quarterback Carson Palmer. "It's great to have a reliable kicker like Shayne. If we get down inside the 40-yard line, we have confidence he will put some points on the board. The Ravens are always so tough when you get down into the red zone and we have to remember not to try and force things. We were satisfied to get three points every time we went down there tonight."
Thanks to Graham the Bengals have now taken points from all but two of their 31 red-zone trips.
"I guess the fans thought we had what they thought was an insurmountable lead so they were pulling for me," said Graham of the fed-up M&T Bank crowd that called for him to throw them a ball. " 'Come on Graham, let's make another one.' That's kind of a cool thing."
MOST FIELD GOALS IN NFL GAME
- 8 - Rob Bironas, Tennessee at Houston, Oct. 21, 2007 7 - Jim Bakken, St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh, Sept. 24, 1967 7 - Rich Karlis, Minnesota vs. Rams, Nov. 5, 1989 (OT) 7 - Chris Boniol, Dallas vs. Green Bay, Nov, 18, 1996 7 - Billy Cundiff, Dallas vs. Giants, Sept. 15, 2003 (OT) 7 - Shayne Graham, Cincinnati at Baltimore, Nov. 11, 2007
Even though it was a lot brisker than cool, Graham was hot enough that he had lather going. His defense forced three turnovers in a span of less than five minutes and he hit four in 6:57, the last one coming with 7:33 left to give the Bengals a 21-0 lead.
"The most for me anywhere, high school, college, pro," Graham said, "is four."
And he did that in less than seven minutes Sunday.
"I couldn't cool off between my kicks. I had a sweat going before the kick because the defense got us out on the field so much," Graham said. "If I'm trying to catch my breath in the net before we kick another field goal and I'm asking for a towel to have to wipe the sweat off my face when it's 30-some degrees outside, that says a lot."
What it says is that Graham raised his career percentage half a point to 85.37, solidifying his position as the NFL's most accurate active kicker in extending his lead over Baltimore's Matt Stover. Graham's defense helped him there, too, because Stover didn't get on the field to kick for points until 1:56 left in the game and that was for an extra one.
MOST FIELD GOALS IN A BENGALS GAME**
- 7 - Shayne Graham, at Baltimore, Nov. 11, 2007 6 - Doug Pelfrey, at Seattle, Nov. 6, 1994 5 - Horst Muhlmann, at Buffalo, Nov. 8, 1970 5 - Horst Muhlmann, vs. Pittsburgh, Sept. 24, 1972 5 - Jim Breech, vs. Houston, Nov. 1, 1987 5 - Doug Pelfrey, at Kansas City, Oct. 10, 1993 5 - Doug Pelfrey, at Indianapolis, Sept. 3, 1995
GrahamYes, Graham said he thought about eight field goals, the NFL record that Tennessee's Rob Bironas set three weeks ago in Houston. And the Bengals were on the Baltimore 31 when quarterback Carson Palmer took a knee to end it.
"Of course," Graham said. "But we weren't going to push it with that much time left in the game.
"I would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for another chance. There really wasn't enough time to explain it with where the clock was. You don't want to rub it into the other team, because the game was won."
He said his biggest kick of the game came on a kickoff, when his popup to the Baltimore 24 gave Bengals rookie safety Marvin White enough time to run down a fumble recovery at the Ravens 11. That turned into No. 6, a 21-yarder with 9:50 left in the game.
"Of course. We got the ball back, so it's the best kick of the day," Graham said. "We had no touchbacks and our coverage team did a good job. I mean, that's a huge turnover right there. That's a 14-point swing, or I guess a three-point swing for us."
Graham has been true to his vow not to dwell on the miss against the Steelers.
"The biggest thing is confidence," he said.
Confident enough to do what only five other men have ever done.
"He's responded like he always has," said special teams coach Darrin Simmons. "He's worked through it, put it behind him, and he's done a good job focusing."