PHILADELPHIA – In six NFL seasons, Dan Bailey had never missed an extra point.
In the last four games, he's now missed two. Throw in a couple of missed field goals that are also in that extra-point range and it's safe to call this the worst slump of Bailey's illustrious career.
But unlike other weeks where he has the chance to bounce right back with a clutch kick, Bailey will head into the offseason trying to figure out why he's suddenly struggling to put the ball through the uprights.
"If I had an answer for it, I definitely would've addressed it already," Bailey said after the Cowboys' 6-0 win over the Eagles that included a missed extra point and missed 23-yard field goal. Both kicks sailed wide to the left, a week after he missed two clutch fourth-quarter kicks to the right.
Sunday's win over the Eagles marked the first time in Bailey's career that he failed to make a kick in any game where he at least had one attempt.
"This is all new territory for me," Bailey said. "Obviously it's very disappointing on a lot of levels. I kind of just want to take my medicine on it and learn from it."
Bailey, who made the Pro Bowl in 2015, finished year making 15 of 20 field goal attempts and 26 of 28 extra points. Of course, most of his struggles have occurred this month after he returned from a groin injury that sidelined him for four games, prompting the Cowboys to sign veteran Mike Nugent, who made seven of nine attempts.
"It's really been a season of two halves," Bailey said ."I thought I was hitting the ball really well earlier in the season but after the injury, I just haven't been able to get in that same groove.
Bailey doesn't want to use the injury as an excuse, but said the layoff has seemed to make a difference, something he wasn't expecting.
"I think any time you have to take a month of during the season, at any position, I don't know that it's unrealistic to expect to jump right into it where I left off," Bailey said. "That's what my mentality was. But obviously getting injured, I'm not going to be 100 percent but I'm not going to say that's the reason for it."
In fact, Bailey's struggles might be even worse in his own mind than the stats portray.
"The key for me, looking at the makes too," Bailey said. "I have a pretty high standard for myself and I've had a lot of makes where I wouldn't' necessarily classify as my (good) hits. I think it's important to not only look at the misses but look at the makes, too and judge it off what your standard is."
Clearly, Bailey's standard is to be one of the best kickers in all of football. But he's been far from that in the final month of this season. Now he has a full offseason to not only figure out why, but how to correct it.