ARLINGTON, Texas – These opportunities seem to just keep presenting themselves.
It’s not that the Dallas Cowboys set out with the goal of letting their kicker boom away from 60 yards – but if they give Brett Maher the chance, it usually pays off.
“You just try to control it as much as you can and find that fine line from back there,” Maher said. “You don’t know when you’re going to get those opportunities, so it’s nice to take advantage of them.”
For all his inconsistencies up close, the Cowboys’ second-year kicker is money from long range. He proved that last week when he connected from 62 yards in New York, and he one-upped himself on Sunday night with a 63-yarder – establishing a new franchise record for field goal distance.
“I had to thing twice about it, but he’s been so good,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “He’s been good beyond 60 for us. I think that’s probably his third or fourth one in the last couple of years.”
Garrett’s memory is good, because this has turned into a bit of a calling card for Maher. To go along with these two most recent sniper kicks, he hit from 62 last season against Philadelphia and he connected from 59 against Tampa Bay.
Maher said he’s probably nearing the limit of what he can make, although he did acknowledge that he’s made 70-yard practice kicks with the assistance of a favorable wind.
“During the week, we don’t push it back that far,” he said. “We go back to mid-to-high 50s and something that’s a little less strenuous, where I can kind of dial in technique stuff more than worry about swinging hard on it.”
Sunday night’s make, which split the uprights right before halftime, made Maher the first player in NFL history to make three different field goals from 60-plus yards.
“I’d almost rather have him back there at 60 rather than two,” joked Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
That joke is founded in reality, obviously, as Maher has at times struggled more with short-range kicks than long bombs. To his credit, everything worked in this 37-10 win against the Eagles.
The Cowboys only went 3-of-5 in the red zone, stalling out near the goal line on two separate occasions. No matter, as Maher calmly connected from 23 yards and 26 yards to help the offense put up its highest point total of the season.
Not a bad night for a guy whose job status has been widely scrutinized in recent weeks. And if you’re only as good as your last kick, then it looks like Maher’s doing just fine.
“I think this should give this team, gives me when he’s kicked three field goals over 60 yards – I think that’s a record in the NFL – something makes me feel better when he steps up there and kicks it,” Jones said.