Cowboys kicker Brett Maher misses record four PATs in Dallas wild-card win
Maher missed four extra points in the Cowboys' 31-14 wild-card win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, becoming the first kicker to miss four PATs in a regular-season or postseason game since the statistic was first tracked for individual players in 1932, per Elias Sports Bureau.
Though the game ended with a blowout result in Dallas' favor, there was a collective sigh of relief when Maher connected on his fifth extra-point try after missing his first four attempts. The make stopped a streak of five misses stretching back to the team's regular-season finale.
In what would seem to be a clear case of the yips, Maher missed left and right on Monday night, as the Cowboys offense produced touchdowns and he couldn't follow up.
Maher missed his only PAT try in Week 18 against the Washington Commanders and looked to be shook from the outset of Dallas' playoff opener when he pushed one wide in the first quarter after a Dak Prescott touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz.
Thereafter his kicks failed as frustration could be seen from Prescott on the sideline all the way up to owner Jerry Jones in a suite.
"I'm Money Maher's biggest fan," Prescott said. "Obviously I've been shown the video of me, and that's just emotion. That's part of it. But I talked to him individually, just told him after the game, 'Hey, let that go. We're gonna need you.' I mean I just played like s--- a week ago. That happens. But when you believe in each other, when you believe in what we're capable of doing. Knowing what that guy's done, the resiliency he's shown throughout his career, personally, no doubt that he'll come back next week and be perfect and help us win."
With the Cowboys leading, 24-6, in the fourth quarter, head coach Mike McCarthy decided to forego a 35-yard field goal attempt and went for it on fourth-and-4. It proved to be the right call for Maher, as CeeDee Lamb hauled in an 18-yard touchdown that led to Maher's first and only made kick of the game.
In his fourth season with the Cowboys, Maher has never missed four PATs in a regular season. He missed three this past year, converting 50 of a league-high 53 attempts.
As the Cowboys move on to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round on Sunday, it remains to be seen if Maher will be moving on with them. McCarthy seemed to give him a bit of a vote of confidence, though.
"We need Brett," McCarthy said. "He understands that, so we need to get back on it this week and get him ready to go. Obviously kicking in an outdoor stadium out there in Santa Clara. Yeah, he's disappointed. We need him. We need him to focus in. He's been super clutch for us all year, but that's the plan."