Evan McPherson scores game-winning field goal from 52 yards and lifts Bengals to upset win over Titans

Rookie kicker Evan McPherson threw a 52-yard field goal as time expired to lift the fourth-seeded Cincinnati Bengals to a surprise 19-16 win over the top-seeded Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes from the pocket against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL Divisional Round playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Nashville , Tennessee.
(AP Photo/John Amis)

McPherson connected on 4 of 4 goals in the game. With the win, the Bengals qualified for the AFC Championship game for the first time in 33 years. Cincinnati also won its first playoff road game in franchise history.

“He’s got ice in his veins,” Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow said of McPherson. “There’s not much more to say. He’s as cool as it gets.”

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) takes on the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL Divisional Round playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) takes on the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL Divisional Round playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

The Bengals defense seized the opportunity by intercepting Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times, allowing McPherson to score two field goals. Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson walked away with the last interception with 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter at the Bengals 47-yard line. On the ensuing practice from Cincinnati, Burrow connected with rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for a 20-yard strike, which set up McPherson’s game-winner.

Burrow, who was sacked nine times in the game, completed 28 of 37 passes for 348 yards without a touchdown and one interception. Chase had five receptions for 109 receiving yards. Bengals running back Joe Mixon ran for the Bengals’ lone touchdown, a 16-yard score on their first drive of the third quarter.

“We found a way all year round,” Burrow said. “Man, crazy, crazy game. They’re a really, really good team. Amazing defensive line. They had a great plan in defense. Kudos to them, we found a way in the end.”

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) drives past Tennessee Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (26) during the first half of an NFL Divisional Round playoff football game , on Saturday, January 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) drives past Tennessee Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (26) during the first half of an NFL Divisional Round playoff football game , on Saturday, January 22, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee.
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

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The Titans season once again ended in a disappointing fashion. It was their third straight loss on their home turf as the AFC No.1 seed. They haven’t won at home since January 2003 in the playoffs.

The Bengals will face the winner of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs next week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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