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CINCINNATI – Mike Nugent's worst moment of the season came in overtime. He missed a 36-yard field goal on the final play, forcing Cincinnati to settle for a 37-37 tie with Carolina on Oct. 12.
He got messages from other kickers providing encouragement. He fixed the problem that led to the miss. And he's been perfect since then, making all eight of his kicks, including a clinching 49-yard field goal during a 22-13 win at Houston on Sunday.
The Bengals (7-3-1) have held onto their thin lead in the AFC North with the help of Nugent's proficiency. Their special teams rank among the league's best in every category.
Cincinnati plays at Tampa Bay (2-9) on Sunday, trying for its third straight road win.
Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL