Dallas Cowboys Kicker Brett Maher’s Historically Awful Performance Ain’t Helping NFL With Rigging Accusations
Brett Maher has been a good placekicker for the Dallas Cowboys this year.
In the 2022 regular season, Maher made 29 of 32 field goal attempts. That was good for about 91 percent, which placed him among the top handful of kickers in terms of accuracy this season. Maher also connected on 50 of 53 extra-point attempts.
That's why what happened in Dallas' 31-14 win over Tampa in Monday night's Wild Card game so bizarre.
Maher set two NFL records on Monday, both of the ignominious variety. The usually sure-footed kicker missed three PAT attempts in the first half, which set the bar for a new NFL-worst in a postseason game. Then, when he inexplicably missed a fourth after halftime, Maher became the sole leader in terms of failed extra-points in a single NFL game, ever.
How does that happen? Perhaps a slick playing surface? After all, Maher is used to kicking indoors at the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium. That's not a real excuse here, though. Sure, it was humid in Tampa tonight — it is Florida — but there was no precipitation.
Maybe he was rattled by the moment, it being the playoffs and all? Also not likely. Maher played in two playoff games for Dallas back in 2019, wherein he was a perfect 5-for-5 on PATs.
The Elephant In The Room
Maher did finally convert on an extra-point attempt in the fourth quarter, when Ceedee Lamb's 18-yard touchdown reception on fourth down salted the game away for good. Maher's PAT made it 31-6 with about 10 minutes left.
Maybe it was just a case of the yips, then? It's possible. I've seen that happen before.
In October 2018, Packers kicker Mason Crosby missed four field goals and a PAT in a 31-23 loss to the Lions at Ford Field. But most of those were bonafide field goal attempts, albeit indoors.
So with Maher, let's just confront it. Everybody's thinking it.
The total set by Vegas for Cowboys at Bucs was 45.5. The official total Monday night when the game clock was all zeros — 45.
I'm just sayin.
And if that's not enough to make you wonder, how about this: According to Yahoo Sports, one bettor placed a $480,000 wager on the under Monday afternoon, just hours before kickoff. Thanks to Maher's historically horrible evening, that bettor won a $400,000 payout.
Things that make you go, "Hmm..."
It's not exactly helpful to the NFL right now, either. Many fans were already accusing the league of rigging games after the Jacksonville Jaguars' 27-point comeback win over the Chargers earlier in the weekend. Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence incidentally fanned the flames of conspiracy theorists with his comments after the win.