The Saints have trusted Garrett Hartley, but they let him know last week it wasn’t unconditional.
But he paid back their faith Sunday, hitting the game-tying and game-winning field goals in the final minutes to lead the Saints to a win over the 49ers.
Not bad for a guy who was almost replaced, after the Saints brought in kickers for tryouts last week.
“I would definitely say [this past week] tested me,” Hartley said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “And it was time to show everyone, I guess, how thick my skin is.”
Pretty thick, apparently.
Hartley had missed four of his previous six field goals, but hit the late kicks when they counted the most. He’s been through similar slumps, but rebounded in 2009 during their Super Bowl, including the game-winning kick in the NFC Championship Game.
Because of that, he earned his trust.
“I told him that we believe in you and that you are our guy. We all did,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “Garrett has had his ups and downs throughout his career, but he has made a lot of big kicks for us. I think that is just the life of a kicker.”
So now he’s safe, at least until the next slump causes them to question him again.