CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kickers don't always get a chance to redeem themselves one week after missing a potential-game winner. Dan Bailey wasn't going to let that chance slide.
Bailey was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals Sunday against Carolina, including a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. His only miss this season came a week prior on a 51-yard attempt in the waning seconds against Baltimore.
"Last week was tough," Bailey said. "It's just a tough situation. It's kind of hard to swallow sometimes. But it was good to go out there this week, and when the opportunities came up, I was able to put them through."
The day didn't start the way Bailey planned. His first kickoff sailed way left off his foot and short of the end zone, handing the Panthers the ball at their own 40-yard line.
"That was just bad," Bailey said. "That was just a mental error on my part. I was just trying to do too much, trying to pretty much kill the ball. I took my eyes off of it."
Dating back to the missed 51-yard field goal against Baltimore, the opening kickoff marked two consecutive kicks Bailey would have liked back. But those kicks weren't indicative of the rest of his day.
The Cowboys kicker converted from all sorts of distances, making field goals of 19 yards, 28 yards, 38 yards and 49 yards. Bailey's made both kicks this season between 40 and 50 yards.
"Anytime you get those longer attempts, it's good to knock them through when you get the opportunity," Bailey said. "You just want to make them. It was good to get that, get some points on the board. That's what we needed the most, is get some points on the board."
Despite losing a week prior to Baltimore by settling for field goals, coach Jason Garrett seemed content to put up points whenever he could in a lower-scoring contest.
He remained confident throughout in Bailey, whose first kick of the fourth quarter gave the Cowboys a two-point lead with 3:28 left in the game. Prior to that kick, Garrett called a run play for Phillip Tanner, who rushed for five yards on a third-and-9 at Carolina's 15-yard line.
"There's limited number of opportunities that you have and you've got to do a good job getting manageable third downs, and certainly taking care of the football," Garrett said. "I thought our special teams did a good job as well. Dan Bailey came up big a couple of times in the ballgame to seal the deal for us."
Bailey was just as solid on kickoffs as he was on field goals after the blunder on the opening kickoff.
The rest of Bailey's kickoffs sailed into our out the back of the end zone. His final two kicks were both touchbacks, including the final kickoff with less than one minute left in the game that sailed through Carolina's goalposts.
"I had a quite a bit of adrenaline going for those last two kicks," he said. "We needed those kicks. I kind of got pretty pumped up about it. I'm glad it went out the back of the end zone, because they probably would have brought it out, even if it was nine (yards) deep."