Despite a runaway win over the Bucs in the Wild Card round, one of the biggest talking points coming into the Divisional round for the Cowboys was their kicking situation. Brett Maher missed four extra points to start the game in Tampa — after missing his last extra point of the regular season — as we appeared to be watching someone get the yips in real time.
Dallas chose not to hold kicker tryouts on the short turnaround before facing the San Francisco 49ers on the road, backing Maher and hoping he could shake off the worst kicking performance in league history. All of that set the stage on Sunday night for the most anticipated first half extra point in NFL Playoff history, when Maher stepped up after a Dak Prescott to Dalton Schultz touchdown put Dallas up 6-3. Maher’s attempt didn’t get past the line of scrimmage, thumping into a lineman’s hand to make for his sixth missed extra point in his last seven tries.
What makes it even more incredible is that it sure looked like this kick was going left from the beginning anyway, as Greg Olsen points out on the broadcast that Maher was kicking from the left hash and the block came from the left side of the snapper, which indicates this was hooking wide of the uprights whether it got hit or not.
It is genuinely one of the most incredible things to watch happen to someone in real time, as it feels like a slow-motion trainwreck where the Cowboys just refuse to do anything to stop it, continuing to trot Maher out there for kick after kick. He was struggling in warmups, to the point where Jerry Jones went out there to give him a pep talk, which doesn’t appear to have fixed anything.
Jones rather famously backed Maher after the Wild Card win in Tampa, but he may be regretting that loyalty as he watches the Cowboys leave more points on the board against a much better opponent. We’ll see if Dak Prescott gets his wish to “go for f*cking two” every time from here on out.