The Dallas Cowboys were victorious on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and were about as perfect as they could be in most ways. The one area where Dallas struggled was in the kicking department as Brett Maher missed his first four extra point attempts. The first miss felt like an easy pass to give him, but with each and every one that he kept missing, the stress continued to grow.
To the Cowboys credit, they gave Maher a chance in the second half when he was 0/3 on XPs and he unfortunately missed it to put him 0/4 as noted. Later in the game, Maher’s struggles appeared to impact the team’s decision-making as they chose to go for it on fourth down as opposed to kicking a field goal. That particular play worked out to the tune of a CeeDee Lamb touchdown, so it sounds nice and awesome, but the reality is that not being able to trust your kicker is a big deal in any game, let alone the playoffs.
Jerry Jones says the Cowboys will evaluate the kicker position ahead of this week
To his credit, Maher did finally make an extra point attempt on the night which stabilized things in the most literal sense possible but at that point the damage had been done. Many Cowboys fans were calling for the team to replace him this week in advance of the Divisional Round showdown in San Francisco, but Cowboys brass had Maher’s back in the aftermath of the game.
That included Jerry Jones who did offer his support to Maher following the win. A good night’s rest can often change minds and it seems that Jerry (or the team as a whole) may be considering, or at least thinking about the situation. Here is what Jerry said Tuesday morning on 105.3 The Fan as transcribed by our own Mark Lane.
SHAN SHARIFF: The big story for the rest of this week is going to be your kicker with what Brett Maher last night. Do you consider replacing Brett Maher for the 49er game?
JERRY – “Well, I think the first thing you do is talk about how isn’t it great to have that the number one thing we need to correct or the number one thing we need to address. I think that shows everything about not only how we played, but where we are with this team right now. Make no mistake about it we got to have the same week of preparation. Now, over to our kicker. This is a classic case of looking at what he’s done for this team and done on the field all year, not just last night. And, so, but kicking is a technical thing. It has everything to do with the — just frankly mentally having it altogether when you step up there. And, so, we’ll read this thing as the week goes along. I don’t want to get out over skis and get ahead of it. I thought when he came out at halftime, watched him warm up out there. He was making all the kicks. I figured that was behind him, but we will take a look at it. We can’t be really a big setback to go into the rest of this tournament, rest of this playoff with shakiness at kicker.”
It is true that Maher has been wildly successful for the Cowboys this season, which was an incredible story given the way that his first stint with the team ended. Unfortunately, he had his worst performance on the biggest stage and that tugs at the thread of insecurity.
The pulse of Cowboys fans seems to be that it is fair to roll forward with Maher, but to not think about making a move seems too far as well. A conversation should certainly be had and it seems like the team is going to do that.