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Bailey’s 35-Yarder Affirms Garrett’s Faith In Kicker

Posted Nov 24, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Freezing temperatures, gusting wind and the pressure of a game-winning kick that would either send the Cowboys into first place or put the Giants in the thick of the NFC East hunt didn’t faze Dan Bailey.

The reliable kicker sent the 35-yarder straight through the uprights to break a tie against the Giants as time expired, sending the Cowboys home atop the NFC East with a 6-5 record they share with the Eagles.

“For me, it was just put it through the uprights,” Bailey said. “I don’t know if there were too many factors that went into it. We did our job pre-game trying to get a good measure on the wind and the weather and the cold, so I think altogether we did a good job and were able to put the final points on the board.”

Tony Romo and the offense set Bailey up for the game-winner with a 14-play, 64-yard drive in 4:45. A 13-yard catch by Cole Beasley on third down moved the chains and put the Cowboys at the Giants’ 15-yard line, where Romo elected to kneel twice.

Rather than move the ball to the middle of the field, Romo kept it on the left hash for Bailey.

“We had talked about that a little bit, what hash was better,” Bailey said. “I don’t know that we really fully decided which one was better going that way, we just knew that was the easier way to go. Still a challenge, still windy, still got to take it into account, but like I said, we’ve just got to go out there no matter what the circumstance and do your best.”

He did his best, as he drilled it right through the uprights despite the conditions. Bailey said the wind was swirling all night, which made it hard to get a read on the kick. He said it did die down a little from where it was at the start of the game. 

“But it was still there,” Bailey said. “Still a factor, I guess you could say. But I felt like we had a pretty good read on it from different directions. You just kind of make the best of it.”

It was a risk for the Cowboys to kneel the ball with 1:17 remaining on first down at the opponent’s 15-yard line. The Cowboys had been running the ball well with both DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar all game, and there was no such thing as a chip shot kick in those frigid temperatures.

But head coach Jason Garrett trusted his kicker and Bailey delivered in the clutch, as he moved to 17-of-19 on the year and drilled his franchise-leading eighth career game-winning kick. 

“We knew we wanted to get inside the 30-yard line going that direction,” Garrett said. “We felt like he could make it from there. It’s obviously better when you get that much closer. The completion to Beasley allowed us to do that. We wanted it on the left hash. He’s just money. He’s been really, really good.”

Garrett said he was just looking to give Bailey an opportunity to win the ballgame. It helped that long snapper LP LaDouceur and holder Chris Jones were perfect as well in the challenging conditions, as well.

“The other guys, LP and Chris Jones, being in that situation, I bet it was 27 degrees,” Garrett said. “I bet it was windy, and that whole operation was critical. The Giants have big, strong guys who like to rush field goals, and I thought our protection was really good. We have a lot of confidence in Dan Bailey. He’s done it for us time and time again, and he did it again today.”

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