FRISCO, Texas – Brett Maher was fixing his tie at his locker when Ezekiel Elliott stopped by with a handshake and a hug for the Cowboys' first-year kicker.
"Appreciate you," Elliott told his new teammate.
The entire team does after Maher delivered the deciding 38-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions, 26-24, Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
It wasn't the first game-winner of Maher's career. He recalls making at least two of those kicks in the Canadian Football League.
Given the stage and the stakes – a chance for Dallas to get back to .500 or slip to 1-3 – it was undoubtedly the biggest of his career.
The Cowboys took a calculated risk keeping Maher over Dan Bailey, a former team captain and the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, at final cuts on Sept. 1. But the staff trusted its eyes and decided Maher had earned the job in preseason.
After missing his first career attempt in the Cowboys' Week 1 loss at Carolina, Maher has made eight straight field goals, including all four tries Sunday from 32, 43, 22 and 38 yards.
The last one came after quarterback Dak Prescott's 34-yard pass to Ezekiel Elliott got the offense in field-goal range.
"We were going to try to get as close as we could but preserve that field goal opportunity," head coach Jason Garrett said. "And he didn't blink. He drilled it and it looked like it was going to be good from 60."
What was going through Maher's mind as the Cowboys positioned themselves for the final kick with three straight runs?
"Ready to go do my part," he said.
"That was a big kick for me. But like I said when I first got the job here, the kicks in the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter are equally important because we need those points. Every time I step on the field, that's my mindset, to go one-for-one. This one obviously will get a little more attention."