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Shayne Graham May Have Played His Last Game as Bengals' Kicker

Jan 9, 2010 – 9:25 PM
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Tom Herrera

Tom Herrera %BloggerTitle%

Shayne GrahamIt's not a stretch to say that Shayne Graham is one of the most unpopular men in Cincinnati right now. Many will point fingers at the Bengals kicker following Cincy's 24-14 loss to the Jets, and for good reason.

Graham missed two field goals in the wild-card playoff loss, including a 28-yard attempt that would have trimmed the score to 24-17 late in the fourth quarter. After the Bengals fought all the way down the Jets 10 just to witness Graham miss a chip shot, it was a big punch to the gut and New York retained a 10-point edge with under four minutes to go.

"It is a shame, and it killed us," head coach Marvin Lewis told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "Unfortunately kicking is mostly a one-man operation. I know Shayne feels worse about it than anyone. Those points obviously make a big difference."

Big difference, yes, but this loss wasn't on Graham's foot alone -- by any means. Quarterback Carson Palmer struggled mightily against the Jets defense, only throwing for 146 yards with a 58.3 QB rating. Lewis will also draw flak for questionable coaching decisions, such as burning two (!) replay challenges in the first quarter, which left the Bengals with no available challenges for the rest of the game. And getting shredded by running back Shonn Greene for 135 yards doesn't help.

Following Graham's miss, New York went three-and-out to trim some time off the clock. When the Bengals got the ball back with three-and-a-half minutes to play, their offense fell flat after a 19-yard strike to Chad Ochocinco. A 10-yard penalty and two sacks would follow on their final drive.

Graham's other miss was a 35-yarder with around six minutes left in the third quarter.

Fans immediately expressed their frustration after the game by hacking Graham's Wikipedia page, which read: "Shayne Graham helped give away a playoff game to the New York Jets in 2009."

Entering the game, the franchise-tagged Graham had nailed 12 straight field goals, but considering that he's come up short in clutch situations before and is an impending free agent, there's a good chance Graham has attempted his last kick in a Bengals uniform. If Graham is let go, he'll still finish his career as the most accurate kicker in Bengals history.
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