When Brett Maher won the kicking job during training camp back in August, there was plenty of skepticism about how reliable the 32-year-old – whose 33rd birthday is on Monday – would be.
As fate would have it, he's been as reliable as they get. And against the Vikings in the Cowboys' 40-3 thrashing, he was money again for the team that signed him way back in 2013.
Maher was 4-for-4 on his extra point attempts while smashing through all four of his field goal tries, one from 53 yards, another from 60 yards to close out the first half, and his final one from 50 yards in the fourth quarter.
But just as Maher blasted through his 60-yard try as time winded down in the first half, officials went back to review a CeeDee Lamb catch prior to Maher's attempt. The play was upheld, thus sending Maher back to his spot for another 60-yard field goal try.
Drilled it. Again.
"There was a lot of emotion," Maher said. "I didn't hear a whistle or anything during the kick, before the kick or anything like that. So the emotions were already kind of out there after I made the first one. To be able to back down and (regather) myself to where I needed to be, I'm very happy with how I handled it."
Normally, you might see a kicker get "iced" by an opposing coach just as he is about to attempt a kick in an effort to throw him off his game. It's a common practice in football and kickers are well aware of it and sometimes even expect it.
But when it comes from the officials looking to review a play that took place before the kick, and then decide to review it after a successful try, well, that's a much different story, right? Especially for a position that is so routine-based.
"It was really just getting myself back mentally to where I needed to be," Maher said after the review. "I didn't hit a super clean ball on the first one. So to still be able to make that, it was more about getting myself back mentally into the zone that I felt like I needed to be in to give myself a good chance on the second one."
It wasn't just that Maher was excellent during the Cowboys' win on Sunday in Minnesota. It's that he has been exceptional all season in an area that very few had faith would yield strong results, let alone what Maher has produced.
With his four successful field goals against the Vikings, three of which came from 50 yards or more, Maher now has seven made tries from that distance this season, giving him the franchise record over Dan Bailey in 2013, the same record he tied during his second stint in Dallas back in 2018.
Maher sees no legitimate difference when it comes to preparing for kicks of that distance, whether it comes from his mental preparation or physical preparation. A kick is a kick. And it takes everyone working in unison to set him up.
"I felt like everything today I just had to hit a good, clean ball," he said. "I didn't feel like I had to press on anything. … Big credit to Matt [Overton] and Brian [Anger] for giving me really clean looks all day and the guys up front also. I felt like I could just go out there and put a good, solid stroke on it and we'd be all right."
In what has been a rebirth of sorts for Maher after bouncing around the league since the last time he suited up for the Cowboys and in the Canadian Football League before that, he feels like he and the rest of his crew are in a good spot.
It absolutely looks like the third time's the charm for Maher in Dallas.
"I've felt that way really throughout the whole year," he said. "So to be able to have an impact on the game is what we're here to do. I do feel like we're in a good rhythm with our whole operation, so hopefully we can keep that going forward."