NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In just his rookie year, an Evan McPherson last-snap kick has won the opener, a prime-time game, the AFC North and now a trip to the AFC title game. His latest big kick came after his 52-yarder split the 27 degrees, the heart of Music City and the uprights for the Bengals' 19-16 win over the Titans.
As Even Evan walked into Saturday's news conference, he greeted the media with, "How you doing? Just another game."
He knew it wasn't, but he won't tell you that because then he wouldn't be Even Evan or even Money Mac, who in a brief 18 games has become one of the franchise's all-timers.
In each of his two postseason games he has hit four field goals, which is the team postseason record. He's already got 27 playoff points, jetting past Ickey Woods' 24 and into second place behind Jim Breech's 52.
And, according to head coach Zac Taylor, he also has "ice water in his veins."
"That guy is unbelievable," said quarterback Joe Burrow, who should know. "He was talking to Brandon (Allen) as he was going out to kick, and he gave a little warmup swing and he said, "Ah, it looks like we're going to the AFC Championship," right before he went out there and kicked it.
"We knew exactly what we had as soon as he walked into the building in camp and we just saw how he carried himself. You know exactly how a kicker is going to perform when obviously everyone at this level can kick through the uprights, but it's how you handle yourself in the locker room that shows us that you have the confidence to go out there and make a kick like this and perform the way he did in a game like this. We knew exactly what kind of guy we had in camp."
McPherson hasn't changed a thing with holder Kevin Huber since he missed two winners against the Packers back in October, when he got filleted for celebrating a 49-yarder in overtime that drifted left at the last instant.
"I turn to Kevin whenever I know I hit it good. I don't even watch the ball go through. And we've seen that be a bad thing," McPherson said. "But this time it was a good thing. And I looked at him and he was like, "You did it!" All that was going through my mind was we get one more game, guaranteed one more game. We get another chance to go out and win another game. And we're one step closer to our goal."
If cornerback Mike Hilton got the ball in the most spectacular fashion Saturday night, Bengals equipment assistant Tyler "Trunk," Runk returned the McPherson ball with Pro Bowl speed. He wanted that one. He calls it the biggest kick of his life.
"We have a guy standing under the field goal to catch the ball. And he got it, gave it to Trunk, and gave it to me," McPherson said. "Super special ball. One that I'll always have. I'll always remember this game, but it's time to move on and go play the next one."